BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
After rave reviews from a coworker (an avid David Chang fan) of David Chang’s newest restaurant creation, Má Pêche I decided I had to make a reservation and try it out for myself.
7:30 on a Thursday night and the place was crowded but not packed. The clientele, at least on this particular night, was an older crowd well into their 50s who were, as I could only imagine from the way they wined and dined themselves, used to a comfortable lifestyle eating at all the finest spots in New York.
My guest and I sat down in the rather cramped booth space along the northern wall and were greeted by a young, attractive male waiter wearing a long white apron, jeans, and sneakers. We started the meal off with a glass of wine which he didn’t know much about and asked a few questions about the menu which he nervously stumbled through. In the end, we settled on the pork ribs ($14) accented with lemongrass and basil with a caramel glaze to start. For my main course I decided on the diver scallops ($26), browned in a clarified butter with lime and pea shoots.
While waiting for our appetizer I couldn’t help but to feel a little sleepy staring up at the ‘pêche’ lit billowy fabric lining the wall. The ambiance was much darker than in any of the pictures I had seen, and didn’t really match the waiters in blue jeans and the Led Zeppelin playing from the speakers.
Our ribs came out quickly and were cooked to absolute perfection with not the tiniest piece of meat sticking to the bone. Crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, these ribs were a delight to consume. The sweetness of the caramel was not over powering due to the acidity of the lemongrass. These ribs were the perfect combination of sweet and savory, sticky, moist, and crunchy.
After our ribs the kitchen fell apart. It took much to long for our main courses to come out, and when a guest at a table next to us asked our waiter what the wait was for, he could only tell us that they were a little behind in the kitchen.
When our food did come out, it wasn’t terribly hot but we dove in, now very hungry. My scallops were good, a little heavy on the lime, but I was expecting something more innovative, more new, something I had never tasted before. My last scallop (the dish came with 4) was disappointingly undercooked, and I was left wishing I had chosen to eat that one somewhere in the middle. I chalk it up to the kitchen having an off night, forgivable although I probably won’t be back. Maybe it was just what I ordered, I should have been a little more adventurous; the ‘beef 7 ways’ standing out in my mind as something I would definitely be interested in if I was up for shelling out $85 for dinner.