Momofuku Noodle Bar at the Time Warner Center

Remember when the first Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village was all the rage? It was this exciting place run by a rebel chef who made pork buns and people could not get enough, even if it meant having to endure loud music and uncomfortable seats. The Momofuku brand has really matured since then. The newest addition to the empire is a second location of Momofuku Noodle Bar, in the NYC equivalent of a suburban mall, the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, far from the hip zip code of downtown.

The menu here is inspired by the original’s, but with a big edit. It still revolves around small plates, bowls of ramen and select entrees, but there is very little overlap between the two. For instance, those signature pork buns are nowhere to be found, although they are available off-menu, and in a modified form (those thick, fatty slabs of pork belly have been regrettably skinnified into leaner, bacon-esque cuts). In its place are caramelized shiitake and seared shrimp buns, and a completely new addition, the spicy pork dip, in which flavored meat is harmoniously encased in a fluffy, steamed mantou like pigs in a blanket, an appetizer so good that it may warrant the retirement of those signature pork buns.

I was never a big fan of the actual ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar, and I felt the same way about the bowls at the new location. In a city overflowing with ramen, these aren’t really the ones that people will talk about. I would recommend instead that you shift your attention to the spicy oxtail with rice cakes and butter rice, which should be the talk of the town. Something that is not a strong suit is dessert, and you should leave your meal on a high point without the letdown that is the strange, savory chickpea soft serve.

There’s something about eating at a mall that I don’t particularly love, which is why I would never go out of my way to trek up to Columbus Circle to eat at this branch of Momofuku Noodle Bar, UNLESS I was meeting up with a friend who lived nearby or I was wrapping up some show at Lincoln Center. It’s certainly a cooler version of mall dining compared to the food courts of our youth, but at the end of the day, there’s not much atmosphere beyond the doors of the restaurant, unless your idea of one consists of walking past the drab storefront of Amazon Books.

Momofuku Noodle Bar
10 Columbus Circle at The Shops at Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019

One thought on “Momofuku Noodle Bar at the Time Warner Center

  1. I’m vegetarian, so the momofuku restaurants have always had severely limited options for me- actually stopped by thinking to eat at this columbus circle location but the only ramen is seriously the same not exciting ginger scallion version that has been the only veg ramen since maybe ever at the e village location.
    I was hoping he would have something with that chickpea hozon, or maybe a new vegetarian option…. i ended up eating elsewhere.

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