Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Momofuku Daishō: The Umami of Korean Fusion

Located on the third floor of the spectacular Momofuku glass cube complex adjacent to the luxury Shangri-La Hotel, Daishō specializes in shared plates and large format family-style feasts. Of all Chang's Momofuku Toronto concepts which include Noodle Bar, Nikai and Shōtō, Daishō has the most extensive menu which changes daily, based on market availability and inspired by the diversity of Ontario's native ingredients and relationships with local vendors and suppliers, showcasing the best of Canadian farms from the east to west coast. Sleek and minimalist, with blond wood tables and completely encased in glass, the room’s vaulted ceiling is dominated by a grand finned structure made of white oak — suggestive of giant ramen noodles — not only brings warmth to the minimalistic space but serves as an elegant beacon along Toronto's University Avenue. 

Seated at one of the smaller tables along the windows overlooking University Avenue, we began the evening with one of Daisho's signature vintage cocktails which arrived with a complimentary plate of pickled sweet and salty Kirby cucumbers with peppers. Starting with a lovely delicate Scallop Crudo with melon, dashi jelly and wasabi mayonnaise, we're never able to resist Daisho's flakey buttery Buttermilk Biscuits which are served with garlic butter and spicy chili honey. The Cured Niagara Ham with red eye mayonnaise and grilled sourdough bread was an unexpected surprise, a delicious Pingue Prosciutto from a Niagara artisanal producer of traditional Italian inspired salumi such as their organic hand crafted prosciutto crudo. New on the menu was the Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms with tare, cucumber and egg yolk, which we followed with one of David Chang's signature dishes, Chicken Thigh Ssäm with sriracha, shiitake mushrooms and bibb lettuce — one can now buy Momofuku Ssäm sauce online. With its fabulous views overlooking University Avenue, consistently friendly professional service and eclectic ever changing dinner menu, Daishō continues one of our favourite restaurants in the city for enjoying a delicious meal before going to the opera, as we walk from one glass cube to another.

The sleek modern white oak interior of Daishō with its with its 40-foot-tall glass windows overlooking University Avenue  

Ribs of white oak veneer decorating the walls of the first two storey space 
with its enormous Momofuku logo, suggest giant ramen noodles

Daisho autumn menu

Daisho's mixologist preparing our Brooklyn's Sweetheart and Fitzgerald cocktails

Brooklyn's Sweetheart Cocktail from 1914 made with Bourbon, Bianco Vermouth and Maraschino

The Fitzgerald with Gin, Lemon and Bitters

Pickled sweet and salty Kirby cucumbers with peppers

Scallop Crudo with Melon, Dashi Jelly and Wasabi Mayonnaise

Warm, flakey and buttery Buttermilk Biscuits with garlic butter and sweet chili honey

Glass of 2014 Grüner Veltliner by Nikolaihof  ‘Terrassen’ from Wachau, Austria

2011 Mencia de Arganza ‘Flavium Selección’ from Bierzo, Spain

Cured Niagara Ham with red eye mayonnaise and grilled sourdough bread

Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms with taré yakitori barbecue sauce, cucumber and egg yolk

Chicken Thigh Ssäm with sriracha, shiitake mushrooms and bibb lettuce

Maple Root-Vegetable Stir-Fry with Sesame
Serves 8
Recipe courtesy of David Chang

1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 pound Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 parsnips, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
1 cup fresh lotus root, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, parsnips and potatoes and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Add the sliced lotus root to the skillet along with the maple syrup and soy sauce. Cook the vegetables over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce becomes syrupy and the vegetables are glazed, about 8 minutes. Stir the sesame oil, sesame seeds and sliced scallions into the vegetables and serve immediately.

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