The Insatiable Palate Review #12: Momofuku Ssam Bar (East Village, New York)

8 Pounds of Pork Shoulder That Will Make Fogo de Chão Tinkle Its Pants

If Eli Manning wins the Super Bowl title this season, his offensive line deserves a Bo Ssäm signing bonus.

After reserving for a table a month in advance, this meal truly lived up to its expectations. Imagine eight people feasting on a glistening piece of shoulder that had been slow roasted for eight hours. Imagine our faces after the first bites. Imagine us two hours later after what had been a piglet massacre.

$200 at first seems like a hefty price tag, but it definitely fit the bill for our table. A whole pork shoulder, a dozen oysters, endless rice, bibb lettuce, and ssäm condiments (gochujang, kimchi, & ginger scallion sauce). Wrap each one into a single bite. An entire week worth of cardio and weightlifting went down the tubes. It was all worth it.

Spicy pork sausage & rice cakes

This was our first mistake. The rice cakes were crunchy and the Chinese broccoli was crisp. David Chang’s interpretation of American Dukbokki is definitely on point. However, we should have saved seventeen dollars and our poor stomachs for the main event.

Seasonal Pickles: Cucumbers, Kimchi, Celery, Carrots, et al

Although the seasonal pickles do not arrive with the meal, I really recommend this supplement for $10. You’ll need some vegetables to nom on during your meat break. The celery was my absolute favorite.

Welcome to the Main Event

My biggest worries before dinner was wondering how eight people were going to split 12 oysters. Don’t fret. Your friends will insist that you take the rest of them (about 45 minutes into the meal). Somehow, I ended my night with three shells on my plate. I didn’t complain.

8 Pounds of Niman Ranch

Our server demonstrated how soft and delicate the pork was by poking the outer layers with tongs. It’s like slicing butter with a scorching knife. The interior is succulent and the fatty skin is oh so tender. I must remind everyone that the pictures online don’t do justice to the amount of meat/moisture that is encased inside. Even after removing the bone from the shoulder, the pig remains intact. Thankfully, the bibb lettuce, white rice, and condiments balance out the luscious bits of pork.

We Almost Destroyed the Evidence

Our dinner started at 6. By 7:30, everyone had consumed around 16-37 wraps of Bo Ssäm (It was all Alan). Once my friends started bringing up weird conversation topics like sleep paralysis, I knew the entire table had gone clinically insane. We were all meat wasted. Thankfully, the staff at Ssäm Bar packed every scrap of pork (& condiments) in a bag.

Following the footsteps of Lebron: I quit during the 4th Quarter

Although I have so many restaurant options in Manhattan, Danji and Momofuku Ssäm Bar will remain on my go-to list for many, many years. Communal eating has never been so beautiful.


One response to “The Insatiable Palate Review #12: Momofuku Ssam Bar (East Village, New York)

  1. I am so impressed by and jealous of your food consumption… well done my friend.

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