New York loves lines, and last week I was lucky enough to wait in three of its hottest and most exclusive lines. BEHOLD: Some line recommendations:
Morgenstern's - Beloved barely-a-year-old ice creamery Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream caused a tremendous stir by introducing a line of ice creams and concoctions to celebrate Kanye West's birthday all week last week. Curious about Red October sorbets, ice cream croissants, and Kim K Thirst Trap Sundaes, Karrie and I joined many of fellow kitten in line on Rivington last Wednesday night. While we waited Claire happened to pass by. And then Evan. And they invited Alpha over. About 30 minutes into line-standing, they all went and had ice cream somewhere else. But Karrie and I stuck with it, and about 15 minutes later we finally arrived at the counter.
It's when you get to the counter that they tell you they sold out of all their Kanye West ice creams for the day a long time ago. I guess I gotta say bravo to Morgenstern's for being so ballsy in their sneakiness. Who would wait in line for ice cream 45-60 minutes and not order ice cream, right? That's what we did. As we left, the line was much longer than when we arrived. I hope everyone had a great time not getting Kanye West ice cream.
Fuku - Out of nowhere, David Chang opened Fuku, his fried chicken sandwich spot in the former Ko space (you know, the space that was the original noodle bar before that?) last Thursday. For now it's only open for lunch Wed-Sunday, so I had to wait until Saturday to check it out.
I met Renee there, she'd arrived maybe 10 minutes before me when the line seemed totally manageable. Not a big deal at all.
That girl in egg shirt did an awesome job of staging the line.
We were to the door of Fuku pretty quick when suddenly things just seemed to stop. Turns out the credit card system was down and it's a cards only establishment. So they just started taking people's orders down with pen and paper, billing to follow. Not too much later Renee and I had our first Fuku fried chicken sandwiches.
What can I say but "Sandos All Day?" Incredibly crispy on the outside, awesomely juicy on the inside, it's another Momofuku home run.
a few bites in I was like "Oh no, I should've gotten two of these" (and by the way, the sandwiches are gigantic and $8, which seems like a very reasonable price, so getting two would only set you back as much as a ramen next door at the Noodle Bar) and a few moments later one of the fine workers of Fuku dropped us off a third sandwich, on the house, this one topped with a slaw of pickled daikon. Hooray! And when we went to square our whole meal they were like "Naw, it's on the house." Sheesh, you didn't have to do that, Fuku! I was going to come back as soon as I could, anyway.
So yeah, if you could go for a fried chicken sandwich, try this one. You will like.
Mission Chinese Food - Back when the original New York Mission Chinese Food opened on Orchard street it almost instantly began demanding waits of 3+ hours for a table. And now that they've opened in their new, much much larger space on East Broadway, they've still go those monster waits happening. It's like a fishbowl of popularity, the demand will expand to fill whatever the space might be. A few food conversations with Lauri left me finding myself at the head of the line at MCF II fifteen minutes before opening time Saturday evening with Jeff and Tamara.
Many would say that the original Mission Chinese had a bit of an Emperor's Clothes thing going on, and of the half-dozen'ish times I went I'm not sure if I went out of love or compulsion, but I do know that eating their incredibly spicy food ruined the evening for at least two and a half of the dinner companions I went with. But the restaurant gave me such a good rock n roll feeling, I couldn't resist! Or something.
But I've got great news: the new MCF is better than the old, the menu is more varied, they have definitely toned down the spice overall but you can still get yours if you're looking for it, and my table and I had a very fun, very good dinner. A few bites into our first couple dishes we were talking about coming back with an even bigger group for an even better time.
(They saved the old menu board from the old spot and put it up in the downstairs dining room. The upstairs dining room looks like a nice Chinese restaurant)
I like their new menus. Literally. The menus themselves. I like them.
Tamara and Lauri.
Things we ate:
Scrambled Egg and Tapioca Dumplings - a little welcome gift from the kitchen, one little bite of amazement. Scrambled Egg? and tapioca? In a dumpling? Winning combination but who knew that would be the case.
Chewy Brisket and Pork Belly with Ma La Vinagrette. Very nice start, we were using that tingly ma la vinaigrette on our other food through the rest of the meal.
Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles - very nice riff on the Chinese food classic. ("nice riff" -- sheesh, Brigham, what's your problem?)
Green Papaya and Banana Blossom Salad - This is what it looks like after the waitress tosses it for you.
Kung Pao Patrami - an old classic but the only underwhelming dish on the table, it just sorta tasted like Chinese food. A little yawners.
Beef Jerky Fried Rice - Simple, maybe, but I loved it. We ordered too much food and I wound up taking this home. Tasted great at 11pm.
Thrice Cooked Bacon and Rice Cakes - My old favorite, they seem to have simplified it, dropping the bitter melon and tofu skins, but it's still so good.
Koji Fried Chicken - tasty and good, aggressive lemon sauce served there on the side.
Looking up from our seats.
And this is the mirrored and flowered hall out of the downstairs. Photo doesn't do it a drop of justice. It's real cool.
In Conclusion: Fuku and the new Mission Chinese Food were great, Strong Recommendation. And Morgentern's, despite its deviousness, remains a great downtown ice cream resource. So I can't be mad.
And sorry about the formatting in this post. I'm still figuring Squarespace out.