Hail the Asian American Burrito! August 31, 2006Posted by peterong in Food for thought, Reflections.
oooh i am so there when I go to NYC next time!!!! wooo hoooo…there is sermon illustration in here somewhere!
excerpt from Food Buzz: Hail the Asian-American Burrito; Farm on Adderley
By Ryan Sutton
Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) — Momofuku Ssam Bar, David Chang’s 48- seat, fast-food-style offshoot of Momofuku Noodle Bar, opened last week in the East Village, serving Chang’s famous steamed buns and a Tex-Mex take on the Korean wraps called “ssam.”
Have you ever stuffed a cool lettuce leaf with a pile of charcoal-grilled short ribs? That’s a traditional ssam.
Chang packs your snack inside a flour tortilla. Hail the Asian-American burrito!
“We’re definitely paying our homage to Chipotle,” said Chang, referring to the fast-food chain where an assembly line of workers tailors tacos and burritos to the whim of every patron.
But at Ssam Bar, Chang replaces guacamole and sour cream with Asian staples like kimchi and soybeans.
You queue up near the open kitchen and decide which of three menu items you want: pocket-shaped steamed buns, lettuce-wrap platters or brick-sized burritos, all waiting to be stuffed with generous portions of braised Berkshire pork shank, succulent shredded chicken thighs or grilled shiitake mushrooms. (In a blow to vegetarians, Chang said he may drop the last from the menu.)
Announce your order. Then, as at Chipotle, experience instant culinary gratification as you watch your meal being passed down the line, from cook to cook, until it’s ready.
The burrito construction was carried out with remarkable speed the first Thursday that Ssam Bar was open to the public, for two reasons. First, every ingredient is prepared in advance. Second, the chefs didn’t slow things down by asking patrons to pick their own condiments. Scallions and coleslaw came with the buns; burritos or lettuce platters got white rice, slaw and kimchi puree.
Orders are filled to stay or to go; either way, serving ware is disposable paper, plastic or aluminum.
Patrons can sit at the beautifully boxy brown-wood bar that runs the length of the dimly lit dining room, or at one of the self-serve (and self-clean) tables. The long, stone-floored rectangle of a restaurant is much larger than the masochistically tiny Momofuku Noodle Bar nearby.
You pay at the cashier before noshing. An ample dinner for two, which included steamed buns, a lettuce platter, a burrito, a beer and a bottle of water, cost $41.
Chang said he plans to add table service and possibly a more ambitious prix-fixe menu later this fall. He also wants to introduce an expanded beer, sake and sparkling-wine list. OB- brand beer, a Korean brew, is currently the only offering.
Momofuku Ssam Bar is at 207 Second Ave., at 13th Street. Information: (1)(212) 254-3500. Momofuku Noodle Bar is at 163 First Ave., between 10th and 11th streets. Information: (1)(212) 475-7899 or.