Momofuku is Japanese for "lucky peach"; it is American for a strange and wonderful little restaurant empire in the East Village. David Chang is a chef without borders – his highly technical cuisine, by turns Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Southeast Asian, and New American, is always market-driven, and mines the dark underbelly of the local bounty.

First came Momofuku Noodle Bar with its menu of hand-cut ramen with local vegetables and Bev Eggleston pork belly, framed by seasonal salads, house-made pickles, and ephemera including roasted Heritage pigtails, steamed buns that put Chinatown to shame, Hudson Valley foie gras in various forms, and cousin leroy and arlo's soft-serve ice cream.

Then came Momofuku Ssam Bar, featuring bo ssam, a whole pork butt that a dozen or so people can wrap in lettuce leaves with kimchi, having started at the raw bar, or with an artisanal Kentucky ham tasting, or with Sichuan spicy beef tendon, pig's head terrine or local lamb sweetbreads.

No reservations in either place, other than the bo ssam, which has to be ordered in advance.

Noodle Bar:
171 1st Ave

Ssam Bar:
207 2nd Ave

Borough:  Manhattan
Type of Service:  Restaurant
Snail of Approval Date:  2009