Wednesday, March 26, 2008

don't have a cow, man

c4ts, sugarpockets, avert your eyes: this post focuses on pork. well, david chang, who specializes in making pork-related korean-esque dishes. in the interest of full disclosure, i've been to momofuku noodle bar and i think the pork buns are fantastic. it's fine if chang isn't trying to make authentically korean dishes or whatever and that's not what annoys me. people fall all over themselves praising the noodle dishes, while i find them to be...lacking. what can i say? there is a korean word that describes the taste, which can only be translated to, uh, "meaty." there is nothing offsetting the overwhelming pork-y flavor and the noodles lack the nuance and balance that i think a good meat-based dish should have. i haven't tried his ssam bar because, well, it's pretty impossible to get a seat there.

anyway, chang's a skilled chef and he has some innovative ideas on how to run a restaurant, but holy cow is he overrated. in his new yorker profile last week, he came off somewhere between earnest/likeable and psychotic/self-important. i'm sure he's some of both, as most people are.

apparently he's a james beard award finalist? and proving that bloggers know nothing, listen to this ignoramus's opinion on who should win:

Steve Plotnicki, Opinionated About Dining: “Chang: I'm torn between him and Dufresne, but Chang's Bo Ssäm, which could be the single greatest casual dish ever invented by an American chef, tips it in his favor”

hey moron, korean people have been eating the dish for years and it's offered by many other korean restaurants. chang didn't "invent" it, he just made it that much pork-ier.

while we're on the subject, frank bruni managed to make it out to park slope to try out moim, a korean restaurant. he wrote a fairly glowing review, but the menu made me pause: what kind of self-respecting korean restaurant charges for banchan? $4 for kongnamul! my mom would weep. not to mention, what are these "korean desserts" they serve?


sugarpockets said...

Charging money for banchan is just totally wrong--especially when they charge per little plate? wtf?

E, when are you coming to visit? we live in Oaktown's little Korea/ little Ethiopia and I am in the process of trying out as many places as possible.

cold4thestreets said...

You have totally disappointed elvis costello.

Anonymous said...

This is what is written on him on wiki -

2006 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year Nomination
Food & Wine 2006 Best New Chef
2007 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year
Bon Appetit's 2007 Chef of the Year
GQ's 2007 Chef of the Year
2007 James Beard Best New Restaurant Nomination

That is like the triple crown/ grand slam for a chef.

Anonymous said...

weird, i'm watching charlie rose right now and he talking about chang w/ a restauranteur/chef - thomas keller. they seem to like chang b/c he does asian foods or "what he knows best" really well. - bowis

Anonymous said...

Well can you tell me your impressions of Baden Baden? I am addicted to it but I have to admit I still don't get it. Is there anything Korean about it? And what's the German beer hall connection?

jk said...

stop hating the race.

E said...

hating the race? huh?

as for baden baden - i think it's fairly safe to say that fried chicken is big in korea. this roasting + frying technique is a whole other ballgame, however. i have no idea whether that is authentic or whatever. anyway, a review of baden baden said something along the lines of, don't bother with the pickles, you're there for the chicken. i dunno, the pickles are very important to me.

the german beer hall thing seems totally random, but there are a ton of "hof"s in korea, too. and in bergen county, nj, as i discovered recently.

oh hey, this blog post sums up both phenomena: