Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Dinner at Ma Peche - NYC

The room at Ma Peche
You would think that finding a restaurant for dinner in NYC would be easy, given all the amazing options.  Not so, at least for me.  I find it almost paralyzing - so afraid I am of wasting an evening. I spent an embarrassing amount of time debating whether we should eat at Ma Peche. It was my first choice, initially, but then I kept second guessing myself. I knew I wanted to try at least one of David Chang's places, but I agonized over the middling reviews on New York magazine's website and Yelp, contemplated the menus and the cost, and debated whether lunch at Ko or dinnner at Ssam Bar were better options. Ultimately, it was all a big fat waste of time, because we went, and it was fabulous.
Ma Peche menu
The menu is deceptively simple - the descriptions are minimalist, but the dishes themselves are not. The prices are also fairly reasonable, as you can see above. Teens for starters, twenties for entrees - not bad for the big city. We sat at the bar, so we could see them preparing the food, and chat with one of the chefs as well as the people next to us. I preferred it to the dark-ish dining room, though I didn't find the room unpleasant - I certainly expected worse after reading the vociferous complaints in other reviews.
Ma Peche
We started with a half dozen oysters - which as you can see here were plump and lovely specimens. They were also, without question, the best I have ever had. Buttery, sweet, rich - just perfect. We would have ordered another half dozen if we hadn't planned to eat our way through the rest of the menu.
Ma Peche Fluke with Butternut Squash, Yogurt & Pepitas
This dish was the surprise stunner of the evening. It was on the menu as "fluke, butternut squash, yogurt, pepitas" - not the most likely combination of ingredients, but a winner nonetheless. The shaved raw fish was layered with shaved pickled squash and plated with a drizzle of tangy sauce, pepitas and a accent of mint leaves. We liked it so much we encouraged our neighbors at the bar order one too, and they thanked us for it.
Ma Peche
Our next course was a David Chang specialty - sticky, sweet pork ribs. Ironically, these were not my favorite. They were fine, but a little bit flabby, and just not all that special.
Ma Peche
We made friends with one of the chefs at the bar. I think he was pleased by our obvious delight with the food, and gave the four of us at the bar a special treat - a delightful little mini-course of raw scallops with mustard oil, mustard flowers and shaved white lily bulb. (This is why it pays to sit at the bar!)
Ma Peche
This next dish was another favorite of mine.  Called a "coquillage" - it borrowed from Vietnamese and Thai cuisine - a rich, creamy stew of king crab and clams made with coconut milk and cream, topped with fried shallots and chives. Somewhere in there, our neighbors also shared a bit of this amazing pork chop for two with us.
Ma Peche
The brussel sprouts arrived last, and though they were good - I was far too full to eat very many by that time. You might have also noticed that everything here was sized generously - plenty for two people to share.
Ma Peche
They don't serve dessert in the restaurant, but after dinner  we went upstairs to the Midtown branch of the Milk Bar in the lobby of the Chambers Hotel. It's not quite as comprehensive as the downtown original, but they have the cakes, pies,  two flavors of soft serve and other treats to go, as well as Stumptown coffee. I picked up a piece of crack pie, a compost cookie and some malted cake truffles. I also tasted the famous cereal milk soft serve, and was a little disappointed to find I didn't like it.
Momofuku Milk Bar - Midtown
The crack pie lives up to it's name though, with a crunchy,oatmeal cookie crust and a thin, rich, sweet filling. You could just call it butter pie, and you wouldn't be too far off.  They make the cake truffles with scraps from their four flavors of layer cakes, Chocolate Malt, Apple Pie, Birthday Cake (vanilla with colored sprinkles)and Banana. A little later in the trip, we went down to the original Milk Bar location next to Ssam Bar, on 2nd Street - which was definitely worth the trip. More on that coming soon!

Ma Peche
15 West 56th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 757-5878

8 comments:

  1. Alice,
    I recently did the same researching and agonizing before a trip to Vancouver. It's hard because you're so excited about a place and then you see a couple negative reviews and start second-guessing yourself. While this is the battle we wage when we log on to Yelp or other food blogs, I find them indispensable (and fun!) when it comes to finding new restaurants.
    We also went with our initial gut (haha) feelings on our trip and were not disappointed. In the future, I will still research, but I just need to keep in mind, "I like food. There will be food, and it will probably be delicious. No more agonizing!"

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  2. Everything looks so good and I love your descriptions!

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  3. Good job with the photos!

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  4. thought of you when I found this.
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/62597898/perpetual-gardening-calendar

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  5. I had Amarin Thai for lunch because of thee. Not quite the same, but that Thai dish had me salivating big time. Gorgeous pics, as usu.

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  6. Sounds like you had an amazing meal and time. The dishes all looked fabulous and I am sure based on the descriptions you gave they were truly mouth watering, thanks for sharing.
    As a chef and caterer I am always striving to provide an excellent meal for my patrons and nothing makes a chef feel better than to see his plates coming back into the kitchen clean,

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  7. I have the same issue every time I go to New York, Brooklyn specifically. The truth is, it's harder to find bad food than to choose a good place to eat. :)

    I highly recommend Egg in Williamsburg for breakfast the next time you're there. It's STILL the best breakfast I've ever had!

    www.strictlyfoodie.com

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  8. I was the opposite I loved the cereal milk ice cream but did not enjoy the crack pie....haha

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