ma peche, My Belle
Though I’m an LA Foodie, I’ve long been intrigued with David Chang and his epic rep on the New York food scene. So getting to visit his ma peche restaurant there was a real treat.
I first read about him in Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw, in the chapter entitled, “The Fury,” where Tony describes Chang’s Momofuku Ko 12-seat restaurant as “the most sought-after and hardest-to-get-into reservation in America,” detailing the lottery reservation system in excruciating detail:
You can’t call or write or beg or network your way into Ko. You log on to their Web site at precisely the right second and manage, you hope, against all odds, to get in your request for a reservation for exactly six days ahead. You do this only by beating out the thousands of other people who are doing exactly the same thing you are – at exactly the same second – not an easy feat. … There is no gaming the system … [in fact] Chang’s parents had to wait a year to eat in their own son’s restaurant.
From that point on, I was on Team Chang. I knew I had to learn more first-hand about a guy who had the hubris and eccentricity needed to set up such a Foodie Mecca. While I sadly didn’t win a seat at Ko on this trip, I was able to snag a table at another strong option, ma peche, in Midtown.
As with ABC Kitchen, ma peche had been personally recommended to me by several of my food-crazed friends. So, armed with those recommendations and curious about David Chang’s creations, I set about exploring ma peche.
As outstanding as the food most definitely was, it was the overall hospitality that blew me away. Shortly after we were seated, Executive Chef Paul Carmichael was there greeting us with a huge smile. Sweet!
Beyond his remarkable warmth, Chef Paul has some serious culinary background – naturally, as I would expect of any chef David Chang trusts. Having grown up in Barbados, Chef Paul came to New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America. Afterwards, he worked at some of the city’s finest restaurants including the renowned Aquavit. And based on the menu we sampled, his experience has paid off big time with dishes including:
- black bass with lime, gooseberry, bay leaf
- scallops with plantain, yuzu, sesame
- spanish mackerel (compliments of the chef) … with romaine, tofu, brown butter
- DeathbedFood®! foie gras from Hudson valley, ny … with sarsaparilla, malt, brioche … honestly, this tasted like Cheesecake! The texture? Velvet divinity from above.
- steamed bun with lobster, maitake, chicharron
- porgy fish from long island, ny … with hot sauce, fennel and lime
- mushrooms with scallion, agedashi
- niman ranch beef with spring onion, potato, sour cream (total comfort food)
- And for dessert? They brought 4 for the 3 of us! White Chocolate (popcorn, caramel, salt), Chocolate (coconut, coffee, thai basil), Goat’s Milk (peach, honey) and Summer Fruit (cream cheese peanut, angelica) … my favorite? The Chocolate as that Thai Basil really made it pop.
So, yes, it appears that I had Porgy and Bass for dinner … in any case, on the way out, we passed through momofuku milk bar. After having seen Christina Tosi on Conan, I wasn’t going to leave without trying some of the infamous cereal milk.
I’m glad to report that the cereal milk soft serve did not disappoint. Based on my ma peche visit, I’m even more desperate now to get to Ko.
But why do I somehow feel as if Clint Eastwood is here asking me to ask myself, “Do I feel lucky?” Well, after the NY dining experiences I’ve had, yeah, pal, I think I do.
In any case, without a doubt, it’s lucky to be able to savor the photos of the gorgeous food from that visit: