I finally got the chance to visit David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar as a delayed bday dinner for my wife and it did not disappoint. We got there early (around 7) and were quickly seated. We were there for the food but I was equally excited about trying Dave Arnold’s cocktail concoctions from the recently opened Booker and Dax bar. I started with Johnny’s Margarita which added a touch of Absinthe to the standard mix for a very unique twist. Almost all of Arnold’s cocktails are chilled with liquid nitrogen and served perfectly chilled without ice. It may sound gimmicky but it’s actually genius because you end up with the full flavor of the drink, at the right temperature, with nothing to water it down. We ordered a barrage of small plates that included uni, steak tartare, steamed and bbq buns, charred octopus and sticky rice with poached chicken. Everything was off the charts delicious and I honestly think you could pick and point at their menu blindfolded and leave very happy. The waiters are casual and cool but also on point and knowledgable. Everything we ordered came quickly and they were happy to answer any questions we had. It doesn’t hurt that they play great music (Radiohead, The Strokes, BIG all got equal time) and have the lighting level down to perfection. After our meal we headed to the back for the full Booker and Dax experience. We sat at the bar and talked to a very friendly bartender named Jane while I enjoyed the Lucky Peach and Chips had the Bangkok Daquiri. Both were amazing and for such a highly conceptual idea that requires perfect execution the atmosphere was surprisngly not pretentious at all. The bar was full but it wasn’t obnxious with music playing at a level where you could hear it but could still comfortably have a conversation. Neither side is the place to go when you’re on a budget but I think considering the quality level and how unique almost every menu item is it would be hard to complain about not getting your money’s worth. Besides sometimes in life you just have to Treat Yo Self.

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