Thursday, March 26, 2015

Momofuku Daishō: A Temple to Asian Fusion Cuisine

David Chang’s Daishō, located on the third floor of the spectacular bento box of four restaurants in the modern Momofuku glass cube complex adjacent to the Shangri-La Hotel, also home to Momofuku Noodle Bar, Nikai and Shōtō, Daishō specializes in shared plates and large format family-style feasts. Completely encased in glass, the room’s vaulted ceiling is dominated by a grand finned structure made of oak, which not only brings warmth to the minimalistic space but serves as an elegant beacon along University Avenue. With its fabulous views, soft lighting, friendly professional service staff, superior wine, sake and dinner menu, Daishō is one of the most satisfying dining experiences in the city.

Of all the Momofuku Toronto concepts, Daishō has the most extensive menu, with large format meals for parties of four to ten guests and à la carte sharing plates ranging from about $10 up to a whopping $125 for the Raw Seafood Platter. Menus change often based on market availability and are inspired by the diversity of Ontario's native ingredients and relationships with local vendors and suppliers. Large format feasts include dishes such as Bo Ssam at $240, Salt & Pepper Nova Scotia Lobster from the Bay of Fundy for $250, Beef Short Ribs at $220 and a 65-day dry-aged Beef Ribeye for $600 for six to eight people! Although walk-ins are accepted, reservations for dinner Monday to Saturday are encouraged, in particular for the family-style courses — in fact, with only one ribeye available per night, advance planning is essential.

Daisho dinner menu

The Momofuku Vesper with gin, cocchi, vodka and lemon

The Kaleidoscope with sake, lemon, cranberry and cardamom

Spicy cucumber salad amuse-bouche

Korean-style fermented cabbage Kimchi

Soy Tea Egg with kimchi mayonnaise, furikake and chopped scallion

Eggplant Buns with tomato, provolone and banana peppers

Crispy Chicken Buns with pickled turnip, garlic sauce and parsley

Roasted Rice Cakes with spicy pork sausage, chinese broccoli and tofu

Chicken Thigh Ssäm with sriracha, shiitake and bibb lettuce

Roasted Pork Chop with rutabaga, kohlrabi, cucumber

Muscovy Duck with turnip, cranberry and confit 

Brussels Sprouts with fish sauce, puffed rice and mint

Momofuku’s Bo Ssäm
Serves 6-10
Recipe courtesy Momofuku

Ginger Scallion Sauce:
2-1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions
1/2 cup finely minced, peeled ginger
1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp  kosher salt

Ssäm Sauce:
1 tbsp ssamjang, a fiery soybean paste
1-1/2 tsp kochujang, a sweet Korean hot-pepper paste
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

5 lb boneless pork shoulder, patted dry
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar

3 heads cold Boston lettuce, leaves separated, washed, and dried
2 cups store-bought kimchi
2 cups cooked short-grain white rice

For the Ginger Scallion Sauce, mix the onions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes before using, or refrigerate covered up to 2 days, and bring to room temperature and stir before using. (This sauce is delicious omits own over noodles!)

For the Ssäm Sauce, stir together ssamjang, gochujang, vinegar and oil in a small bowl until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, up to 2 weeks.

Place the pork in large bowl. In medium bowl, mix together granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of salt. Rub all over pork then cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours. Transfer the pork, fat side up, to large roasting pan, discarding any juices. Roast in preheated 300°F oven, basting every hour with the pan juices, until the meat is tender and shreds easily with fork, about 6 hours. Remove from oven.

In small bowl, mix together remaining 1-1/2 tsp salt and brown sugar. Rub all over pork. Raise oven temperature to 500°F or broil and return the pork to the oven. Cook until the sugar melts into a crisp crust and the fat starts bubbling, about 7 to 10 minutes — be careful as it will burn in bottom of pan! Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Serve the pork on a platter or large plate with tongs or chopsticks to pull it apart. Set out a plate of lettuce leaves and bowls of kimchi, rice, ginger scallion sauce and Ssäm sauce. To eat, place a torn piece of pork on each lettuce leaf and top with  a dab of rices, some hot sauce or kimchi or pickles. Fold and bite, fold and bite. Repeat and enjoy!