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Introducing: Momofuku Toronto, David Chang’s new four-in-one restaurant megaplex

Introducing: Momofuku Toronto, a guide to all four of David Chang’s new restaurant concepts

(Images: Renée Suen)

A full 18 months after it was first announced—18 months of salivating over the thought of pork buns and ramen and worrying about sounding over-eager for pork buns and ramen—the Toronto outpost of David Chang’s Momofuku group is now open. Or, rather, the Toronto outposts. The three-storey Momofuku complex, which is adjacent to (but not part of) the new Shangri-La Hotel, actually houses four different “concepts”: Noodle Bar, home of the pork buns and ramen; Nikai, a second-storey bar and lounge; Daishō, which serves “large-format” meals; and Shōtō, whose 22 seats are reserved for tasting menus.

Momofuku’s eye-catching glass cube, like the Shangri-La next door, was designed by  James K.M. Cheng, and sits behind Rising, the hotel’s 33-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture (by the Shanghai-based artist Zhang Huan). During the day, the building stands out against University Avenue’s unremitting concrete, and at night, the illuminated structure shines like a beacon, drawing hungry diners to feast within (that’s the idea, at least). The Design Agency, of Toronto, was responsible for the interior space, creating a unified look among the floors that alternates between white oak, concrete and glass. Momofuku Toronto’s 125-member-strong team is led by executive chef Sam Gelman (Má Pêche, Momofuku Ko, Momofuku Ssäm Bar) and maitre d’ Joel Centeno (Auberge du Pommier), who greets patrons at the door and sends them off to their destinations. Below, check out our tour of each of Momofuku Toronto’s four constituent parts.

Introducing Momofuku Toronto Introducing Momofuku Toronto: Noodle Bar Introducing Momofuku Toronto: Nikai Introducing Momofuku Toronto: Daisho Introducing Momofuku Toronto: Shoto

Momofuku Toronto, 190 University Ave., momofuku.com, @momofuku

Our Introducing series explores newly opened restaurants, bars and shops throughout the GTA
This is not a review.
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  • MPW

    Awwww…look at all the foodies with cameras at the ready..

  • Kay

    The food may be good (net yet been), but the door staff are rude. We went by the hotel last weekend looking for the entrance into the hotel and accidently went in the front doors to this place.

    The door attendent was SO RUDE trying to stop us. We told him to chill out and that we were just looking for the hotel entrance. Hopefully the resto staff aren’t as rude as the door staff.

  • moeschmoe

    The doorman was being rude because he forgot he is a doorman.

  • Victoria

    Once the hype is gone, good luck sustaining this business. Worst service ever (“we are hot shit mentality and don’t care if you come back type service) and food is mediocre. Not worth the “hype”. Craving for good noodles, chinatown is right around the corner.

  • Mindcrave

    The food here is absolutely horrid! The chef needs to up his standards to meet the customers who have minimum standards. I visit many different restaurants and each week I visit at least 3 different restaurants to try different foods and constantly widen my culinary palate. I have developed minimum standards and this sub-standard chef needs to do the same. He needs to understand one very basic thing and that is ‘to prepare delicious food, you must have first tasted delicious food’. Ramen should never leave a bitter after taste. On my first tasting, I was disappointed and disgusted I could not have any more. This was the worst I have tasted in North America and Japan. The broth was like something out of an instant noodle package. Put some heart into it when you cook please. Food aside, the greeter at the door was wearing some sweatshirt and much too casual. For a restaurant with the hype of this calibre, at least enforce a staff dress code. Staff and customer were indistinguishable and for a restaurant in the downtown core, the staff appearance was unacceptable. The restaurant hype is gone and there are no longer line ups to get seated. Momofuku seriously needs to make huge improvements.

  • Julia

    Re: mindcrave Agreed. First seating and the soup was lukewarm. They gotta get the basics down. Forget about aiming high…

  • Aih

    …so dissapointed and end up craving for good noodles.

  • citizenkane

    what a disappointment

    bench seats

    expensive , nothing tasting noodles, sit like animals

    what a joke

    save your hard earned money

  • jujyhttg

    i will try

  • Jeff

    Was a joke this place is, how arrogant do you want to be to serve noodles

  • Shaun

    Ate here last week, service was very arrogant, I don’t get the need for it they are only serving 2 minute noodles, they buy the noodles anyway

  • Holly

    I couldn’t disagree more with the comments, above. Brought a friend visiting from out of town here for a late lunch on Saturday. The service was friendly and quick, the noodles outstanding! We especially liked the ginger-scallion noodle bowl, and oshiri rice ball appetizer. The atmosphere can’t be beat: family-style, fun, relaxed and full of energy. A real experience. We’ll be back!

  • Lordelgin

    went to this noodle place for a quick bite before TSO. The service was friendly and quick. Let talk about the food: Nothing special. It was average. The noodle joint cooked by the kids from Japan near Chinatown (Baldwin Street???) is way better than this place. In short, all hype, no substance. Repeat: No thank you.

  • goodfoodlover

    I havnen’t been to the noodle bar, but my experience at Daisho was wonderful! Our server was excellent, knowledgeable and polite (yes, she was a hipster, but they’re all hipsters in T.O. now). The food was delicious and plentiful – which is never a bad thing. The cocktails were well balanced and beautifully presented and the dessert we had was life altering – seriously. I think it’s unfortunate that people have such poor opinions of this restaurant; I guess they’re used to the regular Toronto style and aren’t very open to new, michelin rated chefs breathing a new life into this city. I’m going to Shoto tonight and I expect it to be nothing less than spectacular.

 

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