Lots of people refer to Chang as a genius and while in a lot of respects he is, in others I find he’s more of the mad genius type. The kind that throws things together haphazardly hoping that they’ll work out and blow people out of the water. It might be my unrefined palate or my questionable cooking skills, but some dishes out of the book really fell flat.
Here’s a short list of what I didn’t like and probably will never make again:
I could chalk it up to my lack of noodle making skills, but my alkaline noodles were practically inedible. They were slimy, sticky and the texture was just all wrong. I totally understand why Chang outsourced his noodles when he started noodle bar.
Ginger Scallion Sauce
Ginger scallion sauce was one of those things that I hated as a kid and grew to love as an adult. I was really looking forward to Chang’s sauce recipe; it seemed like millions of people were extolling its virtues. I even remember the sauce being pretty tasty at the fried chicken feast at Noodle Bar. However, when I made the recipe I was disappointed. The sauce didn’t meld together in that perfect marriage of flavours. Instead it tasted exactly like what it was: raw green onions and ginger in oil and vinegar.
Shrimp and Grits
I’ve never had grits before this so I can pretty much chalk this one up to lack of experience. I loved the shrimp and the slow-poached egg, but the grits I found were dry, thick and not creamy or unctuous at all. On the other hand, Mike quite liked this dish.
Aside from the kimchi puree, I didn’t like any of the oyster toppings. The melon gelée was too out there for me, and while I loved the kimchi consommé recipe from Ko, the quick kimchi consommé with gelatin was vinegary and overpowering.
Spicy Pork Rice Cakes
The meat sauce portion of of the spicy rice cakes was delicious and all that Sichuan food should be. The rice cakes however, were mushy, and felt gross in my mouth. After loving the roasted rice cakes, I thought this dish would be great, but the texture of non-crispy rice cakes was all wrong.
Red Eye Mayo
I’m so glad I didn’t go crazy and order a 12 pound country ham shipped from Virginia for this one. The red eye mayo sounded questionable when I first read about it in the book, but it was even more questionable when it hit my tastebuds. This is probably a local taste that I don’t understand.
Pork Shoulder Steak
I’m sure Bev Eggleton’s shoulder steaks are transcendental, but I found this method of cooking pork to be unsuited to Whole Food’s shoulder steaks, which ended up tough and not particularly well cooked. The ranch sauce, however, was surprisingly tasty.
Everything I’ve just mentioned is probably pretty good when you eat it at Chang’s restaurants. I chalk these up to being bad because I made them at home. But this one points the other way.
After making crack pie at home and seriously loving it, I was excited to finally get my paws on a slice at Chang’s new dessert bar outpost in Midtown. The pie came in a cute box, but packaging can be deceiving. The filling was overly sweet and had a strange corn flour texture that I didn’t experience at home. Crack pie is something that I’ll be making again, but not something I’ll be buying!
Tomorrow, what comes after Momofukufor2.