Updated: December 2017

Momofuku Ko Restaurant Review:

Down near the East Village in NYC David Chang has 2 of his restaurants, the Momofuku Noodle Bar and the more famous Momofuku Ko. I recently went to New York City on a foodie expedition with my wife and we were lucky enough to land a reservation at Momofuku Ko on a Sunday night. Eating at Momofuku Ko is the easy part, getting a reservation is the hard part (see below for details). Located between E. 10th and 11th streets on 1st Avenue, the restaurant is actually quite well hidden. Not sure if David Chang does this on purpose or not, but you could easily drive right by this place and not even notice it. It's quiet, unassuming and rather dark. Even as you walk into the tiny space, you realize the lighting near the front door is pretty dim. The hostess asked for our printed out reservation from the Internet and she had to use a flashlight to read it. I guess they don't believe in adding more light to the restaurant. With seating just for 12 at their counter, it's no wonder getting a reservation isn't the easiest thing. There are no tables to sit at, you cozy up to the kitchen counter and watch the chefs plate the foods in front of you. I thought this was the best part of the meal - being able to interact with the chefs behind the counter and ask questions.

Momofuku Ko has been open since 2008 and they serve dinner 7 nights a week and offer a larger tasting menu for lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The menu changes frequently and dinner usually includes 10 courses and the lunch reaches 16 courses. Give yourself about 2 hours for dinner and maybe a bit more for lunch. The official site for the restaurant can be found online at http://www.momofuku.com/restaurants/ko/. You may wonder why we have no pictures of our experience - well - they don't allow photographs to be taken at the restaurant. I think originally they did let patrons take photos with cell phones but soon realized in such a small setting that it was annoying. Now, they kindly ask that no pictures get taken and that if you get a cell phone call, please go outside to talk. I support their theory on this. My wife is a big picture taker at these types of place and it can get annoying for others around you if flashes are always going off. Given the tight seating arrangements in Momofuku Ko, the no picture policy makes sense. You'll have to visit the restaurant for yourself to see and taste the food. Unlike other high end restaurants that have menus listed on their website, Momofuku Ko does not post anything. Just be prepared to be surprised at the variety of dishes that come out. The food was different in a good way. We had been to Le Bernadin the night before and loved it, but it's hard to compare Momofuku Ko to Eric Ruperts place. I can still remember every dish at Le Bernadin and yet I can only remember about half at David Changs place. Although good, many of the dishes at Momofuku Ko just aren't memorable. As I mentioned above, being able to watch the chefs prep and plate your food is a huge bonus. There are few restaurants of this caliber that allow guests this close to the production line. It was a real treat to talk with the chefs and watch how things come together. DRESS CODE - There is no dress code. On the night we went, I wouldn't say we were casual, but it's not like you have to were a jacket and tie.

Cost to Eat at Momofuku Ko:

It's NYC so no place is cheap, but I would say that Momofuku Ko is reasonable at $125 for dinner and $175 for lunch. I think the total bill for my wife and I was $350 (included the alcohol). Le Bernadin was over $600 and Gramercy Tavern was $270. For what you got, I felt the price was right. Corkage fee is $45 - we didn't see anyone bringing in their own wine. They offer a good selection of wine, sake, and beer. You can even do the beverage pairings with the meal if you want.

Momofuku Ko Reservations:

Reservations are accepted 7 days in advance for dinner and 14 days for lunch. You can NOT call, you must use their online reservation system to get a spot. Since there are only 12 spots available per seating, expect them to disappear fast. My wife did the reservation online for us and it sounded rather crazy. You have a few seconds to pick a spot (it may already be taken) and then secure it. We talked to another couple who came all the way from Australia and the poor woman was up at 3 AM trying to reservations booked. They take reservations for parties of 1, 2, or 4 - this is all based on their bar seating which limits larger parties or even those with 3 people. Only the person making the reservation can use it. We printed out the reservation and had to take it with us. They check your ID - at least they did with us. Reservations are available at 10AM (for 7 days later). They don't allow walk ins so you won't be able to get a seat that way. It's a bit regimented with the way reservations are made and the fact they say no photos in the restaurant, but you'll have to deal with those aspects if you want to try the food.