Momofuku Milk Bar officially opened today at 9AM and by the time I got there at half past there was already a sizable line. Being that it was the first hour of the first day things did move a bit slower than they doubtlessly will after a few weeks of service but the wait was not excruciating and did allow one to survey all that is on offer. And there is an awful lot to look at. Four flavors of soft serve - fudge brownie, snickerdoodle, grapefruit and salty pistachio caramel along with a myriad of crunchy topping such as peanut butter halva and pistachio crunch are available. It was a bit early in the day for me to try any of these but as a regular at Momofuku Noodle Bar I can attest to the general deliciousness of the soft serve there, I expect no less at Milk Bar.
The cakes in particular looked spectacular - towering, spongy, dripping with creamy fillings, I can't wait to try them all but I was able to restrain myself this morning. Although a carrot cake/cheesecake hybrid made it difficult. I was also able to withstand the allure of the pies and cookies despite some seriously tempting offerings - candy bar pie anyone? or how about a cornflake-marshmallow-chocolate chip cookie? OK I lied I, ordered the latter to go with my milk and was glad I did.
Speaking of milk there are currently 4 flavors on offer - plain, chocolate, strawberry and cereal milk. The latter is a dream come true for me as the milk at the end of a bowl of cereal has always been one of my most cherished flavors. It did not disappoint causing waves of nostalgia to wash over me as the milk coated my mouth. It was like drinking a synthesis every bowl of cereal milk I have ever had with various flavors - corn, oat, wheat, all emerging with a resounding clarity and receding on the palate superseded by the next. At $4 a glass it is certainly not cheap but in terms of flavor per fluid ounce it might not be quite as expensive as you could easily share it. I wonder what kind of sourcery is involved in making the milk taste as it does.
The pork and egg bun, which is essentially a breakfast inspired riff on Chang's justifiably hyped pork bun with the addition of a deep fried poached egg, was equally captivating as the original. The gooey egg oozing in a gelatinous manner over the hearty pork belly is easier to eat than one might expect and provides a creamy new dimension to the sandwich.
Less successful was the volcano, a knish like concoction stuffed with potato gratin, gruyere and bacon which sounds fantastic on paper and indeed the flavors were well layered and balanced but it was just a bit too stogy and dense for my tastes.
There is much more on offer - foccacio breads with all manner of exotic toppings, baked goods, cans of esoteric soda - and I am looking forward to working my way through the menu in the weeks to come. I walked by Milk Bar at around 4PM this afternoon and the line had spilled out in to the street, fortunately for those standing in it there is a scaffold erected in front that serves to shelter them from the frequent rain showers that we had in NYC today. Even with out the covering I bet most of the Chang faithful would have braved the inclemency of the weather to sample the new delights from Momofuku. Speaking of water I bet Chang could open a bar serving nothing else and it would be an instant hit. Or how about Momofuku Dirt Bar?
Momofuku Milk Bar and Bakery
207 2nd avenue (13th street entrance)