Manhattan, New York – Momofuku Milk Bar

Restaurant: Momofuku Milk Bar
Cuisine: Bakery/Desserts/Ice Cream/Coffee
Last visited: September 2, 2011
Location: Manhattan, NY (Midtown West)
Address: 15 W. 56th St.
Nearby subway stop: 5 Av/59St
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3.5
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • 3 locations in New York
  • Bakery (more for desserts)
  • Limited selection
  • Pies/Cookies/Cakes
  • Milk/Coffee
  • Soft serve ice cream
  • Gift shop
  • Eat in/Take out
  • More for take out
  • Mon-Sat 8am – 11pm
  • Sun 8am – 10pm
  • My post for Momofuku Noodle Bar
  • My post for Má Pêche

**Recommendations: The Crack Pie is most popular, but I liked the Cereal Milk soft serve ice cream, but that’s a bit acquired. (Ask for a sample of it). Here are the recipes for Momofuku Milk Bar’s “Birthday Cake” and “Banana Cake” – The Banana Cake is amazing!

Mmmmm milk! I know just as many people that love it as I do that hate it. Actually one of my nicknames as a kid was “Little Milk Girl” because I loved milk so much. I still do, but now I just don’t have to have it with dinner as well. Yup! I use to drink milk at dinner and I’m the kind that would pour more milk than I would cereal into my bowl. I can tell you for a fact it does the body good, I’m 4 inches taller than my sister who hated milk… so there! ;p

When I first heard Momofuku was opening “Milk Bar” I thought it was going to be a store featuring 100 bottles of various flavoured milks rather than 100 bottles of various sake. But, I was way off. Instead, Milk Bar is a bakery featuring a limited selection of cookies, pies, cakes, chocolates, croissants and coffee… and Momofuku merchandise. Ok… so where does the milk part come in? Well I guess it goes well with all their desserts? And they do have their signature “Cereal Milk” flavour which comes as is, as a milk shake, or as soft serve ice cream, but that’s about it.

Although they do market themselves as a bakery, I did find it more of a gift shop featuring baked goods and novelty more so than a dessert place or restaurant. The display case was really small and everything was more or less packaged to go. You can enjoy the desserts in the restaurant in the back, but they’re pre-made and ready to go, so you’re not getting extra presentation or an extended menu option when you sit down. I ended up ordering dessert from Milk Bar after lunch at Má Pêche, which is downstairs in the same vicinity, so that’s another option.

Milk Bar has three locations in New York, and it is the latest addition to the Momofuku David Chang empire along with Má Pêche. The desserts were good, but they were less gourmet than expected and are quite home style and basic. There are some unique flavour combinations and fun names, but I think my expectations were set higher. I just found it more of a gift shop featuring ready to go desserts rather than a specialized bakery.

On the table:

Crack Pie3.5/6

  • $5.25
  • This is one of their signature items, but I think it’s partially due to the name. I was too curious to leave without trying the famous “Crack Pie”.
  • I’ve never tried crack, and wouldn’t want to, but the pie wasn’t as addicting as how I think crack would be. Or does the crack just refer to the white powder (icing sugar?) on top? Regardless, the marketing worked.

Crack Pie3.5/6

  • $5.25
  • It’s served cold and it wasn’t as unique as I thought it would be.
  • It basically tasted like a butter tart meets a toffee bar.
  • It was chewy and a bit too sweet and the filling tasted like toffee.
  • It looks like custard, but it wasn’t fluid and the texture was of fresh, chewy, chilled toffee.
  • It wasn’t creamy or sticky, but made with perhaps butter, sugar, cream and lots of egg yolks. It’s very rich and quite dense.
  • It had a nutty cinnamon granola bar like crust which was made from ground rolled oats, butter and sugar.
  • The crust was a oat cookie crust, and it was almost like a nutty graham cracker crust, but nuttier with more texture. I actually enjoyed the crust more than the filling.
  • The Crack Pie was good, but also very regular. I was more amused with the name of it though… so amused that it was all I could think about and I accidently blurted in out on my radio segment – listen here.

Compost Cookie3.5/6

  • $1.85
  • This was also served chilled from the fridge.
  • This was basically the “Rum Ball” of cookies. It’s their most popular cookie and probably cheapest to make too.
  • It was just a mix of everything leftover from the baking made into a cookie.
  • It was supposed to have chocolate chips, oats, butterscotch chips, espresso powder, graham crackers, pretzels, and potato chips in it, but it tasted like a chewy dark chocolate chip cookie with oats, butterscotch chips and maybe a hint of espresso powder.
  • I couldn’t actually taste the pretzels or chips, or the saltiness from them, which is what I was looking forward to.
  • This wasn’t too sweet or oily, but it was a basic chewy cookie and it tasted less complex than the ingredients suggested.
  • It was good, but if you bake at home, you could likely make this.

Photo from Churnbklyn

**Cereal Milk Soft Serve Ice Cream4.5/6

  • $4.50
  • I have a soft spot for anything in the “ice cream” category. You can ask for a sample of this too.
  • It tasted exactly like cornflakes cereal and milk made into soft serve ice cream.
  • It was icy and light and the texture is smooth, but it would have been great with actual cornflakes sprinkled on top.
  • It’s not too sweet and it’s actually noticeably salty. You can taste the salt almost right away which was a bit unexpected, but I liked it.
  • It was almost like turning the leftover milk in your bowl after you finish all your cornflakes into soft serve ice cream, except with a bit of salt to enhance the cereal flavour. I enjoyed it!
  • You have to be okay with the idea of salty and sweet milk to enjoy this though.

See my post and the recipes for Momofuku Milk Bar’s Birthday Cake and Banana Cake.

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11 Comments

  • KimHo says:

    If you were to summarize everything in a single word, would that word be “overrated”? I mean, I complained that Thierry baked stuff was expensive at $6/piece but, by the sounds of it, this place does not seem to be too far based on what they provide. Either that or we are looking things from different perspective…

  • Mijune says:

    @kimho – ummm bluntly put…. yes. It has brand recognition… the cereal milk soft serve was interesting though and it was something “new to the table”… the rest I felt the marketing was in the name more than the product.

  • Linda says:

    wow, david chang’s restaurants are uberly overpriced! because of your last two posts, my bf and i have decided not to visit his restaurants – thanks again for you honesty and very descriptive posts! you helped us with our on the fence decision making for this place!

  • Edda says:

    You should have tried the corn cookie! For some reason, it was soo strange but really good. 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @linda – yes they are!! It’s money for the brand. lol aww you are too cute!!! I really think it’s a “get it out of your system” place… food is actually good… but money could be better spent if you are only vacationing in New York for a short time. I heart you!!

    @Edda – aw man I missed the corn cookie! Next time! How does it compare to the other stuff I tried though?

    @Linda – looks like if you are desperate to try something.. just pick up a few of these cookies to go as gifts maybe?

  • Edda says:

    the corn cookie pretty much taste like – soft baked cookie with intense corn flavour, if you have had corn ice cream in Asia, it is like that but condensed into a creamy tasting cookie. LOL i can’t describe it well but there is nothing like it. And another big hit was the blueberries and cream cookie, which tasted like it had dehydrated blue berries with little bits of cream that melts in your mouth.

  • Mijune says:

    @Edda – u have good descriptions I think! I can totally image the taste of that corn cookie! I thought it was going to be more like cornmeal. I guess I’ll have to wait until someone I know goes to NYC…put in an danced order for take out cookies 🙂

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