First Look: Momofuku's Korean-Italian Nishi in Chelsea

One of the hottest openings of 2016 thus far
January 13, 2016
by Kelly Dobkin

Photos by Gabriele Stabile

The gist: David Chang dropped his hotly anticipated Korean-Italian mash-up, Nishi, last Friday night in Chelsea. Three-hour lines have ensued. "Nishi is what Noodle Bar would be if I opened it up as a 38-year-old, not a 26-year-old," Chang tells Lucky Peach of Nishi's grown-up sensibility. The restaurant will initially be walk-ins only, open for dinner only from 6–11 PM and will be tip-inclusive. This is the first entirely new full-service restaurant concept (save for fast-casual Fuku) for the group in years, which, Chang reveals, makes him a bit nervous/excited: "We’re nauseous — and that’s good, because we haven’t felt like that in a long time. I’m terrified of this restaurant. Every opening feels like sh*t, but we don’t even know how this going to be perceived." 

Ceci e pepe

The food:  The menu, created by Ko alum Joshua Pinsky, takes inspiration from both Italian and American classics like a cacio e pepe pasta, done here as "ceci e pepe" with Momofuku's proprietary chickpea hozon and black pepper. But for the most part, this is an Asian restaurant, with all Asian ingredients (you'll find more "on the head" dishes like spicy beef Sichuan and Spanish mackerel tataki). The menu also has footnotes in case you're confused. And you can add black truffle to anything for $48 — this is Chelsea after all. Larger mains include pork shoulder with white kimchi and a BBQ mackerel. Prices are a bit higher as the concept is tip-inclusive, but most dishes are under the $30 mark with the exception of the two large entrees and the chile lobster. Check out the menu below.

Tofu with smoked trout roe and rye bonji

Clams "Grand Lisboa"

The drinks and desserts: First of all, there is an amaro affogato slushie. On the dessert roster you'll find pistachio bundt cake (the chef's mom's recipe, improved) and panna cotta with plum vinegar. A selection of after-dinner drinks include Ballast Point Opah and BroVO Amaro #1. 

Raw diver scallop with tiger's milk and shio kombu

The details: 232 Eighth Ave.; 646-518-1919

Nishi Menu

david chang