Ko | 163 1st Ave., NYC
Welcome to my food blog. I decided I’d begin with a bang and describe my otherworldly experience at Momofuku Ko. Photography of the 10-course dinner service is prohibited.
The chefs at Ko are doing magical things with their dishes and present diners nightly with their highest art. They offer a 10 course-tasting menu every night for dinner and a 16 course tasting menu for lunch Friday through Sunday. Ko is the recipient of two well-deserved Michelin stars and has been open for six years.
I opted for the all-sparkling beverage pairing with my 10 course dinner tasting menu, which perfectly complemented the delicious dishes.
The service was outstanding. We were first presented with hot towels to clean off the grime of the city. Our beverage liaison, Lauren Souther, orchestrated our beverage pairing informatively and attentively.
To start, an assortment of unique amuses was placed in front of us, paired with their Averell Cocktail (Averell gin made from Upstate NY plums, bitters and soda). I did not keep notes on the amuses but one was a type of soup shooter. The amuses and the cocktail both played off of each other’s refreshing qualities.
First course continued the theme of refreshment with scallops in a tomato water with basil. Our beverage was a crisp Champagne, Frederic Savart “L’Ouverture” premier cru brut.
Second and third courses were presented together and paired with the crisp Southampton Double White whitbier style ale. One plate consisted of a delicious mackerel in a black sesame sauce with pickled watermelon and kimchi. The other plate was a honeydew melon with cucumber, avocado and macadamia nut. Both dishes struck me as incredibly unique and very flavorful.
Fourth course quickly became my favorite. It consisted of a smoked soft boiled egg surrounded by miniature lightly crisp potato chips, herbs, and mouthwatering caviar. We were then given rustic sourdough bread and a wonderfully fragrant house made radish butter to dip in the warm egg yolk. This tantalizing dish was paired with another brut from the Champagne region, Nathalie Falmet “Le Val Cornet.”
Fifth course were tortellini with pea, almond and flakes of crab. The light flavor was appreciated when paired with what I considered to be the best beverage offering of the night, Domaine de la Bergerie, “Crémant de Loire” brut, NV Loire rinsed with Domaine Huet, “Clos du Bourg,” demi-sec, 1992 Vouvray. Our beverage liaison encouraged us to sip the Clos du Bourg and taste it before she poured in the Crémant.
Sixth course was a halibut with watercress, zucchini and olive, playfully paired with Etienne Dupont “Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie,” 2012, from Normandy. The tart and dry characteristics of the cider cradled the slight salt and brine of the olive.
Seventh course was another favorite of mine. Frozen foie gras was shaved over lychee and pine nuts in a Riesling sauce. The combination of salt and sweetness was an incredibly decadent sensation. This course was paired with Domaine de Martinolles, “Blanquette de Limoux.”
Eighth course was a tender beef cap with a bagna càuda sauce and romaine, paired with an excellent rosé from Champagne, Larmandier-Bernier, “Rosé de Saignée.”
Ninth course was the first of two desserts: celery swimming in sake with blueberry and sweet rice. It paired nicely with Dewazakura “Tobiroku,” a sparkling sake from Yamagata, Japan.
The tasting menu concluded with an incredible dessert: coconut lime sorbet with rum meringue, banana, and slightly salty toasted shortbread. This luxurious dessert was paired with a Moscato d’Asti from Piemonte, Carussin “Filari Corti.”
I found myself stuffed and my senses thoroughly tantalized by the end of these ten perfectly sized tasting dishes. As we left the restaurant, I wanted to applaud the chefs and the entire team for the heavenly and delectable art they had just created. This was truly an enormously special dining experience and one I will not soon forget.