La Tinaja

Mortadella Dürüm and Authenticity

19 Jan 2019

From Pete Wells’s review of David Chang’s Bang Bar:

I’ve saved the breakfast mini with mortadella for last, although it’s been the subject of the most rapt online attention. Building logs of mortadella layered with lardo and roasting them on spits is exactly the sort of thing the Momofuku group was put on this earth to do. I am glad this revolving meat torpedo exists. I respect Bang Bar’s cooks — this collaborative effort has no chef, Mr. Chang said in a phone interview — for realizing that the proper garnish for caramelized mortadella shavings is a slice of yellow American cheese and hot mustard. I appreciate the respect the sandwich pays to both fried baloney and Taylor Ham. And if I were in the habit of turning up at Columbus Circle with a hangover in the mornings, I would probably become a regular consumer of mortadella minis with Ssam Sauce. With a clear head and stomach, though, the saltiness can be a little too bracing.

This fried-baloney-sandwich-as-mortadella-dürüm sounds amazing and is precisely the kind of thinking high-low, free-associating that makes me to ready to buy pretty much anything David Chang is selling. It’s also a poignant illustration of the possibilities opened by leaving the authenticity trap experienced by so many non-white restaurant owners in the U.S., as argued recently by Sarah Kay.