A new David Chang restaurant in NYC is unlike any other opening. Lines of hungry Chang fan boys and girls will snake around a block no matter the weather to get their hands on whatever the master has thought up lately. And so it was on Friday night when Chang unleashed his Korean-inflected Italian restaurant, Nishi, in Chelsea, his first new sit-down concept in NYC in five years. (By 7 p.m., guests were told that the restaurant was booked for the night and turned away.)
While it's Chang's restaurant, longtime Ko alum Josh Pinsky is running the kitchen and serving pastas like ceci e pepe, a riff on the classic cacio e pepe made with Momofuku's fermented chickpeas instead of Parm. There's another noodle dish with clams and an herby green sauce that Eater critic Robert Sietsema says is "supremely delicious, and I could eat it every day of my life." There are also meat dishes like pork shoulder with white kimchi.
"This restaurant is inspired by so many things," Chang said late last week in a Lucky Peach interview. "Almost all of the meats are inspired by Chinatown. Cantonese stuff, barbecue. The desserts are inspired by our moms. We're using all these references, but we really just want to make food that is tasty to us."
Originally, Chang was going to open another location of his hit fried chicken sando spot, Fuku, in the Nishi space, but Sean Gray of Ko convinced Chang to do something different. It all happened quickly—Chang inked the deal for the space in the summer. As Sietsema left the restaurant on Friday, he overheard Chang say: "It's been an okay evening, but this menu is going to change a lot." So stay tuned.
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