Masaharu Morimoto is officially opening a restaurant in Toronto. Word first got around that something was up in early March, after a listing on developer Brad Lamb’s website seemed to reveal the news early, but a press release sent out yesterday confirmed it: the Iron Chef’s first Canadian Morimoto will be at the base of the 47-storey Theatre Park building at 224 King St. W. The restaurant, in partnership with Hanif Harji of ICON Legacy Hospitality and Charles Khabouth of INK Entertainment, will be designed by Munge Leung, the firm responsible for an ever-growing number of some of the city’s most striking establishments (Byblos, El Catrin, La Societé). It’s set to open this winter.
Harji, who spoke to us on Friday afternoon from L.A., says the project came about “serendipitously” when he and Morimoto were both guest judges on Top Chef Canada. “We just started talking about my desire to open a Japanese restaurant. My first restaurant was Blowfish and after I sold it, I missed that Japanese flair and cooking,” says Harji. “Morimoto expressed interest in being in Canada and he also had a previous relationship with Charles and Danny, my partners. He was super excited about it.”
In keeping with the trend of multi-level restaurants, where the experience gets fancier (and almost always pricier) the more stairs you climb, Morimoto Restaurant’s two storeys will be split, with a more casual main floor—think sushi bar—and a more formal second one with several dining rooms, some of them private. Both storeys will feature floor-to-ceiling glass facing King West (and those ceilings are tall—26 to 28 feet). And out front: a street-facing, people-watching patio, of course.