Momofuku Ssam Bar
A must for any trend-savvy foodie with a taste for adventure, this polished downtown cafeteria offers first-rate experiments in Korean (primarily carnivorous) flavors from wily chef David Chang, whose other New York restaurant Momofuku Noodle Bar packs in pleasure-seekers around the corner on First Avenue. Adding decadence to the pan-Asian flavors are indulgent soul food influences: a selection of various southern country hams; grilled pork ribs with chili glaze. The ssam – Asian-style steamed buns filled with pork, fish, or steak and rice bibb lettuce – burst forward with flavor, while a nice cross-section of fish, everything from roasted skate with lemon and brown butter to Santa Barbara uni with whipped tapioca, offer an option to diners not yet ready to dive into Chang’s experimentation with offal (think: spicy honeycomb tripes; grilled veal sweetbreads). Late night, things get really good, and you never know what member of the local glitterati will be soaking up the juices next to you.