Saturday, April 10, 2010

A QNY Restaurant Review: Má Pêche

By Brooklyn Bill

I had my first dining experience at a restaurant in David Chang's Momofuku empire yesterday. My friend and co-worker Joyce and I enjoyed a terrific late lunch at the brand-new Má Pêche.

The surprising highlight for me was the Chou-Flour Chiên, fried cauliflower flavored with curry, mint, and fish sauce. That was one of two small plates Joyce and I shared to begin the meal. (It's on the left in the photo.) I'd love to have a big bowl of that in lieu of a bag of popcorn the next time I go to the movies. The other small dish was Côtelletes de Porc, pork ribs in a magical lemongrass caramel sauce.

We were seated at one of four ends of an X-shaped communal-table layout that you can see in several of the photos in this Grub Street slide show. The room was lovely and soothing.

To enhance that feeling of serenity, we each got a cocktail. :-) I tried the Ampersand, a rum, lemon, cucumber, and honey concoction. It wasn't bad, but the lemon didn't come through as much as I thought it would. Joyce got a Dark and Stormy and a barely sweet, housemade grapefruit soda.

For her bigger plate, Joyce got Bun du Riz, rice noodles with spicy pork seasoned with sawleaf. I'd never heard of that herb. Wikipedia says it's like cilantro (and is sometimes called a similar name: culantro) and may be useful in preventing epileptic seizures. How 'bout that?! I really liked the noodles, and the little nuggets of pork were tasty too.

My big plate was Travers de Boeuf Kho, beef short ribs with carrots and spaetzle. I loved every bite of it, and Joyce enjoyed it too.

The service at MP was great: professional but warm and friendly.

Just inside the entrance of the restaurant—whose only outdoor signage, btw, consists of a single painted peach—is a takeout counter for treats from Momofuku Milk Bar. In a rare display of restraint around sweets, Joyce and I checked out the offerings but didn't purchase any dessert. One of MMB's signature creations, the Compost Cookie, with its potato chips, pretzels, and coffee grounds (as well as oats and butterscotch and chocolate chips), grosses me out. But almost all of the other offerings were tempting, especially the Blueberry Cream Cookie, the Banana Cake, and the oh-so-subtly named Crack Pie, a variation of chess pie. MMB's presence near my office just may change my life.

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