Momofuku Saves The Day, posted February 14, 2009 at 07:00 PM
As evidenced by the following picture, which I posted to my Facebook page with a caption that said, "Jennifer Whitehead--It finally happened. I finally had a day bad enough to crack open the emergency supply of absinthe you gave me years ago. It burns, and it made me sweat. And it saved my life. Love, David," I had a sickeningly frustrating day yesterday. (Hence my lack of a post yesterday. C'est la vie.)
But after work I had a haircut--including a fabulous head and neck massage--which helped. And I've been making something of a habit out of dining at Momofuku after my haircuts. It's always perfect there, and it's one of the things I most miss about the East Village. So my post-haircut dish of noodles has become a regular monthly treat. Except for yesterday, when I let the waitress talk me out of my usual ramen noodles and into a four-course prix fixe. Oops.
I started with the fluke--four small slices of raw fish on a spicy carrot puree, with dry salty seaweed sprinkled on it, with a tiny dollop of salty fluke fin sitting nearby. The fish was fresh and very flavorful--and that salty fin was intense and cold. Next I had the oxtail ragu. I've had this before at Momofuku and loved it. The meat is dark and rich, in a deep red-brown tomato sauce covering handrolled pasta that was cooked truly al dente. Wow. The waitress suggested the Pork Tonkatsu, and boy was she right. Thinly sliced pork loin, pounded flat, breaded, then deep fried. It's served on a bed of savory-sauced cabbage, with a housemade mustard that was out of this world. The mustard had a nice kick to it, but was all flavor, not sinus-killer. For dessert I could choose between vanilla wafer or banana soft-serve. No choice there--banana, of course, which came with chocolate sprinkles on it. It was richly flavored and very dense and creamy. I had a glass of medium-bodied Spanish red and a nice big bottle of Pellegrino.
Needless to say, the meal totally wiped out the memory of my bad day. I was free of care when I left. I bought a bottle of Cava at Tinto Fino on 1st Avenue and headed over to my friend Melissa's birthday party, three pictures of which are below, and more of which are posted here.