People: JasonC, JR and myself
Feelings: I have visited Ma Peche several times during their soft opening back in 2009. It was located at the beautiful mezzanine of Chambers Hotel, and their $10 Midtown lunch special was hard to beat. Now, located in the basement of the hotel, formerly occupied by the restaurant Town, Ma Peche brings the downtown minimalistic chic to the heart of Midtown.
Upon stepping down the stairs at the end of the ground floor, a large, serene dining room with bare wood welcomes you. This setting gives an opportunity of a rather grand entrance, and I must admit I felt a bit like Eliza Doolittle at the Embassy Ball. The delightful, soothing decor with high ceiling adds a high expectation for what is to come.
The pricing is now much higher than what is used to be. Small plates are in the range of $10-$18, and entrees could go up to nearly $30. When we got our orders of trout, asparagus salad, and fish buns, they all looked minuscules regardless of "small plates" or "entrees." In fact, my fish buns with celery and iceberg was the biggest, and possibly most filling of all.
The flavors, however, did not disappoint. They maintained the sensibility of Momofuku empire with the succulent, harmonious flavors and layers of textures that twirl in your mouth. The combination of the lightly crunchy fried fish and pillowy bun of the fish bun was a major success. The portion was not much by any means but intensely satisfying from the flavor perspective.
The high quality of service can also be expected without the stuffy Midtown manners. Ma Peche is indeed ideal for business lunch and casual office drinks after work, but the rest of us can also appreciate Ma Peche thanks to the laid-back, downtown vibe.
They don't offer desserts, but don't miss Momofuku Milk Bar at the entrance. Their decadent, melt in your moth cookies will await you--Ah, now I think I know why Ma Peche serves such small plates. Thanks for being so considerate.