Chang’s soft opening


There is something to be said for subtlety, especially when it’s coming from the most hyped chef in the country (with a brand-new book out, no less). This sign at 15 West 56th Street is the only evidence David Chang’s new restaurant, Ma Peche, even exists. In fact, the door next to the sign is chained closed. At least for now, you enter the hotel lobby and head up to the balcony level. I’m told the restaurant is still in its soft-opening stage and the sandwich-focused menu is temporary, but first I’ll talk about the style. I’m not sure if this will eventually change, but right now there are small, low tables and couches scattered around the space. I took the day off today and was dining alone, as was a designer named Marcus Siciliano, who was also waiting to be seated when I arrived. They asked us if we wanted to share a table and each enjoy a couch to ourselves. I think we were both pretty excited by the prospect of lounging in comfort for lunch — not an everyday mid-town experience. So Marcus and I got to chatting, we had a couple of interesting things in common, and it turned out to be a very social lunch, much the opposite of what I was expecting. We both ordered the house banh mi, aka three-terine sandwich. (Marcus also ordered the popcorn and a big plate of cookies — this guy can eat!) The sandwich turned out to be a good call. As you may know, I’m a little crazy about banh mi. Chang’s version may not be all that traditional, but nobody will mind. After two or three bites, the juiciness overcomes you. You can see the sliced meats inside the darkly toasted bread, but the texture sensation was more reminiscent of succulent roast pork. And the sandwich is even better with a couple dashes of the hot sauce, so don’t forget to make use of the squeeze bottle they bring you with your meal. Was the portion a little small for $10 (including a bottled water)? Yes, I suppose so, but I’d go back in a minute. And maybe if we all scream and yell, they won’t drop the sandwiches for pricier dishes the way it’s been reported on some other sites.


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