Monday, May 2, 2016

Momofuku Daishō: David Chang's Modern Asian

Never before has there been a phenomenon like Momofuku. Once a completely unrecognizable word, it's now synonymous with David Chang's award-winning restaurants of the same name in three countries around the globe, including his spectacular bento box of restaurants in the modern Momofuku glass cube complex adjacent to Toronto's Shangri-La Hotel and just steps to the Canadian Opera Centre. Daishō specializes in shared plates, large format family-style feasts and an à la carte dinner menu that's constantly changing, inspired by the diversity of Ontario's native ingredients and showcasing the best of Canadian farms from the east to west coast. It's more than just ramen and pork buns. 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. 

Seated at one of the small tables along the soaring 3-storey bank of windows overlooking University Avenue, we jump-started our evening with cocktails that arrived with a complimentary plate of crunchy pickled cucumbers. Looking over the menu, we selected buttery Buttermilk Biscuits served with black pepper butter and a spicy chili honey, followed by the Crispy Chicken Bun with ssäm sauce, pickled carrot and chopped scallion, Daishō's outstanding Agnolotti with oxtail, bay leaf, black truffles, and Roasted Rice Cakes with spicy pork sausage, chinese broccoli and tofu. As an entrée we shared one of Momofuku's newest dishes on the menu, Skate with Black Bean Sauce and Grilled Scallions served with sticky rice. For dessert we splurged on three warm Ricotta Filled Doughnuts with orange and honey! With its fabulous views, soft lighting, friendly professional service staff, and constantly changing dinner menu, Daishō continues to be one of the most consistently enjoyable dining experiences in the city. 

Daisho's dinner menu

A Corpse Reviver #2 with gin, lillet, orange and lemon - a vintage cocktail from the 1930s

Weller Old Fashioned from 1881, with Weller bourbon, bitters and sugar 

Complimentary pickled sweet and salty Kirby cucumbers with peppers

Buttery Buttermilk Biscuits served with black pepper butter and chili honey

Crispy Chicken Bun from Harriston Co-Op in Ontario, served with ssäm sauce, 
pickled carrot, and scallion

Agnolotti with oxtail, bay leaf and black truffles

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

Skate with Black Bean Sauce and Grilled Scallions served with Sticky Rice


Momofuku Ginger Scallion Sauce 
Makes 3 cups
Recipe courtesy of David Chang, Momofuku

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions, both greens and whites
1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger 
1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil 
1 1/2 tsp usukuchi - light soy sauce
3/4 tsp sherry vinegar 
3/4 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste

Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Although it's best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, this sauce is best once it's stirred together and chilled up to a day or two in the fridge. "Ginger scallion sauce is one of the greatest sauces or condiments ever. Ever. It’s definitely a mother sauce at Momofuku, something that we use over and over and over again. If you have ginger scallion sauce in the fridge, you will never go hungry: stir 6 tablespoons into a bowl of hot noodles — lo mein, rice noodles, Shanghai thick noodles — and you’re in business. Or serve over a bowl of rice topped with a fried egg. Or with grilled meat or any kind of seafood. Or almost anything".

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