momofuku milk bar
Having followed with interest the progress of David Chang’s culinary empire in NYC, it seemed natural that we would traipse over to the momofuku milk bar when in that city. We were there with child in tow, and the promise of ice cream [soft serve, actually] was often the only way to make it through another day, or another block. And then we arrived – the space was small, an annex to one of momofuku’s dining spots. It’s standing room only, unless you happen to weigh about 40 pounds and can balance a marvelously small figure on a countertop. Clearly, ambience is not what this is all about – and there are no flourishes or fireworks, except of the culinary sort.
For soft serve/ice cream/gelato, we’ve only found one other comparable establishment – Pazzo Gelato in LA. Momofuku’s is beautifully produced product, made with care from good ingredients, and with an admirably large dash of wit. Cereal Milk soft serve will transport all of you who grew up eating corn flakes for breakfast right back to childhood – the familiar, mellow taste of milk+cereal will leave you smiling, guaranteed. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of cold cereal for breakfast, the effect will be less pronounced.
Purple Drink is beautifully candy-like : think Hi-Chew Grape rendered as soft serve.
My favorite milkshake flavor is Salted Pistachio, and the Pazzo Gelato version is highly satisfying. The Milk Bar version is very different – for $9, it seems surprisingly small, until one encounters the density and range of flavors packed into that curvaceous glass. This dense amalgam of salted pistachios, cream, sugar and alcohol [possibly vodka. Correction – I’ve been informed by this NYT article that the alcohol spike is butterscotch schnapps] has character – more character than one may reasonably expect in a milkshake. But that’s exactly the point – it is not meant to be a reasonable milkshake. It elicits strong responses – the smile on my face balanced by a grimace on another.