Just a tribute
Nick Wong is paying tribute to his roots. The chef de cuisine at UB Preserv will present a special menu in honor of New York restaurant Momofuku Ssäm Bar, an establishment he worked at for six years.
For three days this week — Thursday, June 4 to Saturday, June 6 — UB Preserv will feature five dishes inspired by the groundbreaking establishment where chef David Chang earned a James Beard Award for Best Chef: New York in 2008. They are:
- Steamed pork buns with cucumber, hoisin, and scallions, two for $13
- Country ham with redeye gravy and baguette, $15
- Apple kimchi with bacon and maple labne, $15
- Fried Brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette and crispy rice, $15
- Baby bo ssäm for two with lettuce, sauce, and toppings, $40
UB Preserv's popular ca phe sua da carrot cake ($10) rounds out the offerings. Diners may also purchase the entire menu for $85.
The timing of Wong's pop-up menu stems from Momofuku's decision to relocate Ssäm Bar as part of a number of operational changes the company made in response to the coronavirus pandemic. For Wong, relocating Ssäm Bar from the East Village to the South Street Seaport prompted him to reflect on his time at the restaurant. While he acknowledges that his six years there "turned me . . . into the chef I am now," he finds the change in venue to be bittersweet.
Those interested in trying the offerings should place their orders early. Quantities are limited, and last weekend's run sold out quickly. The pork belly buns have been copied endlessly, but the apple kimchi — an intriguing mix of sweet, tart, savory, and smokey — serves as a powerful reminder of the various ways Ssäm Bar shaped the way people eat today.