Ever since I’ve first seen photos on Instagram, various tweets or reading through the issues of Lucky Peach, I’ve been extremely curious about the Momofuku franchise. Earlier this year, I was quite excited to learn that David Chang’s franchise was to set foot in Toronto. Ever since they had opened earlier this fall, I was looking forward to check the place out and sample the menu. Timing had been off until a couple of weeks ago.
I recently found out that my friend Manon had gone to high school in Sudbury with with Momofuku Daisho executive sous chef Matt Blondin. The two Collège Notre-Dame (CND, as they called it) alumni recently reconnected. This impromptu reunion prompted Manon and myself to finally set foot at Daishő.
The restaurant is adjacent to the brand-new Shangri-La Hotel. The entire Momofuku building has large windows. The Noodle Bar is located on the ground floor. The Nikai bar is on the second, while Daishő and Shőtő, two; more intimate restaurants are located on the third floor. We caught up over cocktails at Nikai while waiting for our table.
Daisho’s dining room is surrounded by large windows, big round lights shine over many of the tables. There are also several seats along the bar. We were greeted with a smile and a cucumber, chilli and soy sauce salad. Just as Manon and I were about to choose our appetizers, the menus were taken away from us. Our server informed us that we would sample a series of chef Matt’s picks. We were obviously excited.
Our first course rolled out. We started off with the Hot Wing Bun. A chicken wing served with celery, dill and Tabasco in a soft bun. Delish. We then tasted some oysters topped with a slight dollop of kimchi. For our third course, we tasted some halibut cheeks, served with hen of the woods mushrooms, spruce and persimmon that was quite tasty. We then sampled some charred cabbage topped with pork and pine nuts and Pok Pok Som sauce. This course was flavourful, but the portion was perhaps a little too big, considering the amount of dishes we were savouring that evening.
The next dish consisted of Speckled trout topped with a prawn and served in a sauce of smoked milk. The delicate fish blended perfectly with the sauce. We then tasted a sunchoke dish served with salt cod, preserved walnut and clay pepper. It was a delicious way to enjoy sun chokes. I never knew this root vegetable could taste so good. A beautiful slice of chicken served with carrot and an egg yolk on the side capped off the savoury dishes.
Just when we thought that we were this wonderful meal had come to and end, chef Matt served up a most impressive dessert! One of half of the dish was chocolate, served up in five different textures. The other half consisted of caramelized apples, which were punctuated with hints of cedar and cashews. Both desserts were equally a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
We were both extremely grateful for this experience. It was great to sample a menu hand picked by the chef and, in a way, plunge into Matt Blond in’s culinary universe. I am looking forward to return and get to see how the Momofuku franchise will evolve over the next few months.
Momofuku – Daishő
190 University Avenue (University and Adelaide)
Toronto, M5H 0A3
* Unfortunaely, the sometimes blurry lens of the iPhone don’t always do justice to the look of the dishes.