A Taste of Ma Peche's Dim Sum Menu
Not long ago, Ma Peche (15 West 56th Street, 212-757-5878), David Chang's French-Vietnamese inspired Momofuku outpost, axed its 10-course Kappo tasting menu for a new passed plates experience. Diners can now pick and choose small plates of black bass ceviche or pulled lamb noodles or dumplings in bamboo steamers from old-style dim sum trolleys trolleys.
All photos by Jane Cheng
This collaborative effort between Chang and Ma Peche's executive chef of four years, Paul Carmichael goes far beyond traditional dim sum, Carmichael insists. "I'm not a classic dim sum chef," he says. "But I like to cook good food. There's an opportunity to do some of the fun dishes that people can share." He works to develop tapas-sized dishes that work well on a rolling shuttle. On any given night, diners can experience three different carts -- each with its own theme.
The concept also serves as a framework through which Carmichael's team can test out new dishes. Each day, a sous chef may develop his or her own item; it will run as a special on that day's cart. "We had a really good gumbo once, and we also had mushroom congee the other day," Carmichael says. "It really gives my team a lot of creative opportunities."
We dropped by to taste Ma Peche's offerings, and we found that Carmichael's team is well-versed in elevating simple dishes with unexpected pairings. A cool Togarashi-perfumed sesame paste brightens steamed broccoli ($9); an herbaceous guacamole ($12), accented with crab and ginger, serves as a knockout dip for crackers. These crisp crackers, we later learn, are a mix of Cassava and poppy-seed, and they take a full two days to form.
A few dishes are overwrought: A dish of warm blinis ($16) is drowned in trout roe and sour cream, making for a muddled riff on a posh classic. A bowl of puffy shrimp balls ($8) are fragrantly smoky but underseasoned. So, too, is an adaptation of the Momofuku pork bun: a deep-fried fillet of fish wedged between steamed buns ($5) underwhelms, needing more than a few dabs of Sriracha to enliven it.
The best dish on the dim sum menu was originally part of Ma Peche's old menu: Rice cakes ($9), rolled and cut like plump cigars and reminiscent of the Korean staple dukbokki, are aromatic, fiery, and rich, fortified by a stew of pork ragout and flecked with crisp fried shallots. Carmichael says his favorite is the airy, deep-fried cod fritters ($8), seasoned assertively with Calabrian chiles - it's a recipe passed down from his grandmother.
Ma Peche serves its dim sum menu for both lunch and dinner, in addition to its regular a la carte menu. Walk-in diners may also order from the new menu from the downstairs bar.
Hit the next page for a few photos.