14. Momofuku Ssäm Bar (Opened 2006)
Momofuku Ssäm Bar, a restaurant that forever changed the East Village dining scene, is closing and relocating to Momofuku’s Bar Wayō, located in Manhattan’s Seaport District. Established by chef David Chang, Momofuku has seven restaurants in New York City and seven more across the globe. Opened in 2006, Ssäm Bar sold Korean-style burrito wraps, but it son grew into a casual Asian-inspired brasserie at fairly affordable prices. The restaurant helped popularize Korean fare across the city and attracted tourists and locals alike.
Ssäm Bar became popular for its Asian-inspired American dishes like Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes, Wagyu Beef Tartare, and Banana Leaf Roasted Skate. With separate lunch, dinner, and brunch menus, Ssäm Bar offered a large variety of creative dishes using fresh ingredients like Broadbent ham from Kuttawa, Kentucky and uni from Maine.
Bar Wayō, Ssäm Bar’s new location, features a smaller menu accompanied by seasonal cocktails, beer, and wine. Dishes range from Curry Donuts to Smoked Brisket Sandwich to 12oz Ribeye. Although Ssäm Bar’s new location in the Seaport District will offer diners with a new view and perhaps a different dining experience, the move is also detrimental to the East Village, according to a recent Eater article.
“Ssäm Bar felt like an anchor tenant in slowing that neighborhood’s transition,” author Ryan Sutton wrote. “And now it’ll be another empty storefront in a slice of the city that’ll have no shortage of empty storefronts as the pandemic forces more businesses to close.”