David Chang Gets Feisty With Momofuku Nishi

Momofuku Nishi – David Chang’s latest project in Chelsea – has finally opened, and Chang made the announcement today through his magazine Lucky Peach along with an interview. The restaurant was rumored to be an Italian-Korean fusion, but Chang balks at that description. Instead, he asks “what food isn’t fusion?” and says,

“There are Italian words on the menu but we’re not trying to make Italian food. We’re not trying to make a Korean restaurant. We’re trying to do something that we’ve never done at Momofuku. We’re inspired by Italy but we’re not using any Italian ingredients. Things are moving at light speed here.”

Momofuku Nishi will also add to the list of major New York restaurants operating with a no-tipping policy. Chang cited the greater parity between front of house and back of house wages as the primary factor in this decision, and made no apologies for charging more.

The real cost of selling food is not accurately reflecting the labor that’s going into it. In 2000, I got paid maybe $10 an hour. Inflation has definitely risen, but cooks’ wages haven’t. That’s one of our biggest issues. We want to be able to grow as a company so we can provide for more people. This is a way we might be able to do that. And if it doesn’t work, we can always go back to the old way.

The menu is not yet available online, but Nishi is now open Tuesday – Saturday from 6:00pm-11:00pm.

To read the full interview, click here.

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