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Momofuku’s Feast of the Seven Fishes brings Asian flair to an Italian holiday tradition

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Feast your eyes on this.
Photo: Anthony Mair / Courtesy

If you’ve never experienced a Feast of the Seven Fishes—or Festa dei Sette Pesci in Italian—you’ve been missing out. The seven-course smorgasbord is a Christmas Eve tradition among Italian-Americans, and from December 22 to 31, you can savor the family-style spread at Momofuku for $148 per person.

Wondering why an Asian restaurant would host an Italian-themed holiday dinner? Don’t let that stop you. Executive Chef Shaun King knows a thing or two about seafood. Long before he was at Momofuku, he was chef de cuisine at RM Seafood and executive sous chef at Sushisamba. King says he was inspired by the Italian feast but wanted to put an Asian spin on it for guests at Momofuku—and you’ll be glad he did.

The first and second courses—a creamy uni dip with Momofuku’s signature hozon spice blend and a smooth duck liver mousse—both pair perfectly with the “bing bread,” a light and fluffy naan-like vessel made for dipping. King kicks things up a notch with the next course: tender and juicy octopus served with crispy potatoes spiralized to look like spaghetti. Next, savor a whole branzino straight off the plate, or make lettuce wraps with rice, ginger scallions, pickles and Bibb lettuce before moving on to the night’s biggest stars: a giant plate of lobster Fra Diavolo, served beautifully in-shell, and the seafood hot pot, a spicy, Szechuan-inspired take on the Italian Cioppino, loaded with crab, sausage and crispy rice. You probably won’t have saved room for dessert, but the meringata with black sugar caramel, miso and apples is so light, Santa himself would go back for seconds.

Feast of the Seven Fishes December 22–31. Momofuku at the Cosmopolitan, reservations at opentable.com.

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