Momofuku CCDC executive chef Tae Strain, recruited last year by Momofuku founder and Ugly Delicious host David Chang to “destroy” the Asian restaurant’s menu, is finally ready to reveal what he’s got in store for lunch.
This spring, the alum of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred the Progress swapped dinnertime ramen and bao buns for bing bread and sharable dishes — a bold move that garnered a rare three star review (“excellent”) from Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema.
“I am proud of what we’ve done for dinner and I want to apply that same energy to lunch — and I don’t know what that looks like yet,” he told Eater this spring. “That will take time.”
Momofuku’s newly rebooted lunch menu, which kicks off Monday, August 6 (1090 I St NW), includes a “rotisserie” section ($16 to $21) with edamame falafel alongside spicy harissa hot sauce and Strain’s version of a French dip: Creekstone Farms prime beef, tiger sauce, and pepper relish dunked in smoked onion jus. His take on a banh mi is a five-spice porchetta po’boy with pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro mayo, and chicharron. Each sandwich comes with pickles and a side, like kimchi potato salad with soy egg or rotisserie fat rice.
New large plate options include a whole branzino ssäm with spicy ginger scallion, a bright tomato and lemon cucumber salad with chickpeas, and a hefty grilled romaine salad with nori caesar dressing and aged pecorino. Bing — Strain’s Chinese flatbreads called “da bomb” by Sietsema — enter the daytime mix and can scoop up options like salted chili pimento cheese or smoked Carolina trout.
The simple inspiration behind Momofuku’s latest menu makeover?
“It’s what Dave [Chang] and I want to eat for lunch,” says Strain.
Lunch is served Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.