David Chang built his restaurant empire on a certain kind of downtown New York cool. His Ssäm Bar, Noodle Bar, and Ko serve great food, yet they self-consciously lacked the fine-dining polish of the big, tablecloth-adorned restaurants that populate Midtown Manhattan. But 8 years ago, Chang decided to venture out of the East Village to West 56th Street, trying his hand at appeasing the pre-theater crowd with Má Pêche. Despite favorable reviews of the food for the entirety of its run, Chang’s team is hosting its final service tonight.
Despite the positive reviews, Má Pêche did struggle with finding an identity. It experimented with dim sum-style service where food was wheeled around on carts, and also early on had a Vietnamese influence. But true to Chang, it was willing to experiment with its food and service.
This is the first time in Momofuku’s history that it has closed a full-service restaurant. The restaurant did shutter its delivery-only company Ando, which struggled in a flooded market filled with Uber Eats, Postmates, and more. The Má Pêche move was announced back in March, but no reason was given for the shuttering. The overall company remains healthy as employees at Má Pêche are being relocated to new posts throughout the Momofuku empire, including the new restaurant Chang is opening soon inside the Hudson Yards development.
Chang hardly has the time to slow down and mourn the loss of Má Pêche. The restaurateur has the aforementioned Hudson Yards project coming and has moved out to Los Angeles, where his Majordomo is one of the city’s hottest restaurants.
He’s also turned into a multimedia star, moving beyond restaurants and into the media business. Earlier this year he released the acclaimed Netflix series Ugly Delicious, where he explored hard questions around the intersection of food and culture. And since then, he’s created his own media company, which has a podcast that regularly lands near the top of the iTunes charts. David Chang will be just fine.