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A Long Weekend with Rotisserie Duck Lunch at Momofuku Ssam Bar

January 19, 2012

It is a long weekend and what to do with that extra day off?

I love to start off my bonus day with a cup of latte from Cafe Grumpy, much like any other Saturdays and Sundays.  Every once in a while, I will treat myself to a pastry made inhouse.  Even though the financiers there are not your typical shape but they are sure dense and moist, some days filled with blackberries and other days maple walnut.

With the latte in hand, I take a walk down a half empty Fifth Avenue in Flatiron.  How I forget that not everyone is as lucky to have the day off!  And of course, I am taking advantage of the lack of crowd by partaking in lunch at a location that is usually mobbed on the weekends.  This particular Monday, I choose Momofuku Ssam Bar’s for their rotisserie duck lunch dishes, arriving at the 11.30AM to a nearly empty restaurant – something you don’t find very often here!

Instead of ordering our own dishes, we think wisely and decide to share three for a more complete tasting experience.  A bowl of duck dumpling soup to start off.  The pouch shaped dumplings are steamed and then ladled into a fragrant spiced bowl of clear broth.  The skin remains chewy while completely concealing the intense duck filling.  I am usually not a huge fan of meat only dumplings but these are small enough not to overwhelm.

The second course, dirty rice, is certainly not for everyone but I find myself hogging the entire bowl.  Ssam Bar’s dirty rice is truly a messy bowl, full of tender duck gizzards and heart.  The rice is mixed with generous portions of spicy mustard which is just the right amount of sharp.  This reminds me of the paella at Soccarat with its creamy rice and a few pleasantly surprising crispy bites.

Finally, after we clear the bowl of rice and soup, our main course and the star of the lunch arrives.  The rotisserie duck over rice set, available only on the weekdays, includes a bowl of rice, chive pancakes with plump slices of rotisserie duck, lettuce for wrapping and a choice of vegetable sides.  We opt for the spicy fingerling potatoes.

A closer look at the duck make us realize that we are in for a big surprise.  This is no ordinary rotisserie duck.  Not only is the meat a perfect medium, still pink and juicy, but tucked between the meat and an unbelievably thin crispy skin is duck sausage.  How ingenious!  The sausage gives each bite a different texture as well as a more subtle flavor against the gamier meat.

I take a bibb lettuce and place a bite of rice, sprigs of watercress and a slice of duck in the middle.  Just a dab of hoisin sauce and it is ready to be devoured.  Sure, this isn’t your traditional Peking duck.  The skin isn’t nearly crispy enough and the meat to skin ratio is too high but it does not take long for us to finish the succulent duck.  Unfortunately, because of our two previous courses, the potatoes are neglected to no fault of their own.  In fact, these little guys are very well roasted with a mildly spicy sauce.

Completely stuffed, we take a walk across the street to Milk Bar.  A chocolate chocolate cookie to go please!  I will be savoring this much later no doubt.

Momofuku Ssam Bar | 207 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003 |

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2012 11.38 pm


  2. Rose permalink
    February 2, 2012 10.49 pm

    Yijia!! Does that Cafe Grumpy cup say what I think it says?

    • February 2, 2012 10.52 pm

      I was wondering when someone was going to notice that!!! 🙂 You were there with me in spirit 😉

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