Day: August 31st, 2006

Shakespeare and Ssäm

Thursday, August 31st, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Eats

SYB and I had reserved tickets to The Public Theatre Shakespeare Lab‘s performance of The Tempest. Tonight’s staging was the culmination of a 13-week intensive acting program. The first two-thirds of the course is class-based, focusing on elements of Shakespearean performance (e.g., monologues, clown work and stage combat); beginning in the 10th week, the students study and rehearse an entire play to perform before a live audience.

A condensed version, anyway: the entire five act play ran 75 minutes with no intermission. Also, to more equitably distribute the lines, three of the parts were shared by two actors: two Mirandas, two Prosperos and two Ariels. The whole thing worked remarkably well, in no small part due to the enthusiasm of the thespians.


Public Theatre

After the performance, inspired by our recent trip to Momofuku Noodle Bar, we thought we would attempt to check out Chef David Chang’s new venture: Momofuku Ssäm Bar. Chang has described the casual dining restaurant’s signature item as an “Asian burrito,” his interpretation of the ssäm, which SYB explained is the Korean word used to describe any wrapped food item. After the hour-plus wait at the Noodle Bar on Saturday night, and the relentless press coverage leading up to the opening earlier this week, we were prepared for the worst.

So we were pleasantly surprised on Thursday night to find the long, sleekly minimalist counter space full, but not packed. After some slight confusion over how to place our orders (turns out you just march up to the glass and relate your choices to the counter guys — cafeteria style), we stood by to watch our ssäms and steamed buns being prepared. The entire experience has been aptly compared to a slicker Chipotles.

As our flour tortillas were being rolled with Berkshire pork and kimchi, who should step out to observe and offer tips than Food and Wine’s Best New Chef 2006 himself. Just for a moment, though — not long enough for me to snap a photo.

Ssam Bar

The staff, for their part, seemed slightly amused by all my camera wielding; clearly they’re accustomed to diners of my ilk. At one point, the handsome delivery coordinator asked, “And what blog will these photos be on?”

Steamed Buns

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