It's hard to think of a chef that's had a bigger impact on the new restaurant culture than David Chang.
Chang took traditional ramen noodles to the next level when he opened Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York in 2004, has established an unconventional dessert empire with Momofuku Milk Bar and created New York's hardest-to-get reservations with the 12-seat, two Michelin star Momofuku Ko, earning a couple James Beard Awards in the process. He's also written one of the world's most challenging cookbooks and published Lucky Peach magazine, which immediately became a foodie obsession.
Chang took traditional ramen noodles to the next level when he opened Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York in 2004.
Now Chang might be bringing the Momofuku magic to Texas. Or just toying with us. On Sunday, Chang tweeted that "@momofuku is looking to sign a three year lease in Houston, Texas." Cue the excited frenzy?
Not so fast.
Chang — a fanatical backer of Jeremy Lin, who appears to be on the verge of ending up in Houston himself (for three years) — could just be having fun with everybody.
Chang doesn't have any U.S. restaurants outside of New York. He does have a restaurant in Sydney and a forthcoming Momofuku in Toronto.
If Chang was serious, I think Momofuku would be a natural fit for Midtown, where a history of Vietnamese culture meets modern food and drink haunts like Reef and Mongoose versus Cobra. Of course, the Lower Westheimer restaurant row always has room for one more, and there's always the chance for an unconventional location like Oxheart's on the fringes of the downtown warehouse district.
On the other hand, New York chefs don't have the best track record with Texas openings in recent years. Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Bank inside the Hotel Icon didn't last long, and Tom Colicchio just announced that Craft Dallas will close this summer after six years.