Thursday, December 17, 2009

Momofuku Milk Bar

If there was ever a reason to practice restraint at dinner (other than calorie control), Momofuku Milk Bar is it.

We had just finished up dinner at the adjoining Momofuku Ssäm Bar, painfully leaving behind bowls with food still left in them due to stomach space concerns. If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that dutifully finishing ALL of your food can sometimes lead to “episodes” later on (without access to a public bathroom, think Trainspotting– not good when you have a ways to walk.

Not knowing that the two businesses were connected via an indoor hallway, we walked out the front door of Ssäm, walked around the corner, and through the front door at Milk Bar like a couple of goobers. We had unknowingly eaten sixty feet away from where we were going to have dessert.

As you enter from the sidewalk there are two large tables where people can stand and eat if they don’t want their desserts to go. Immediately to the left is an open work area where the staff is preparing more desserts. On the night we were there, pastry chef Christina Tosi was still there working. Straight ahead is the case with all of the pies, cookies, and cakes, along with the soft serve ice cream machine against the back wall.

If there’s one word to describe this bakery as a whole it would have to be “different”. Desserts have names like Crack Pie™, *reminds me of the Clint Eastwood psa from the 80’s “See this cute little tin here? It’s Crack Pie™ in it’s most addictive form.”* Candy Bar Pie™, and Compost Cookie™. Ingredients such as corn flakes, milk crumbs (powdered milk and white chocolate), and potato chips are used in some of the concoctions. The soft serve machine oozes flavors such as Cereal Milk™, Salty Pistachio Caramel, and Old Fashioned Donut. You can’t tell me you’re not the least bit intrigued.

Citing poor lighting and lots of people in the bakery, you can go here to see some great pictures of MMB.

My brain was on overload from the get go, mind you I had just got done eating pork belly sliders, deep fried Brussels sprouts, and most of a big bowl of spicy pork so I wasn’t exactly starving. I felt like Spalding Smales in Caddyshack, “I want a Compost Cookie™. No, Salty Pistachio Caramel. I want a Blueberry and Cream Cookie. I want Chocolate Malt Cake.” With the exception of the soft serve, we took the two cookies and the cake back to the hotel, most of which doubled as breakfast the next morning.

Impressions? My favorite was the Blueberry and Cream Cookie, which I actually made at home and did a post on here. The only thing I didn’t like was the Chocolate Malt Cake. The actual cake portion was pretty dry and the filling in between the layers was a little too sweet even for my taste.

Like Ssäm, everyone that was working here really seemed to be enjoying themselves. They were eager to explain the desserts, what they were made of, what they tasted like. It wasn’t a salesman pitch, but rather a genuine enjoyment in sharing these unique creations to a curious audience.

I don’t know that this is a place you want to bring a less adventurous eater or even a classic dessert lover (it reminds me of when I recommended the movie Momento to my mom). The offerings are unconventional and are also skewed to the sweeter side. I think I would describe it as “WD50 for desserts but with a homey aesthetic”.

Update: You can now order Crack Pie™ along with an assortment of cookies (including the ever popular Compost Cookie™) via Fedex. Just go to link this link here and set up an account.

Momofuku Milk Bar
207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500

Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

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