Momofuku

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Momofuku’s David Chang: “It should be considered a world-class city, which it is, but, like, not.”

“It should be considered a world-class city, which it is—but, like, not. You know. You guys know that. If that was the case, people in Toronto would not be wanting to go to New York. New Yorkers would be wanting to go to Toronto.”

David Chang, the creator of Momofuku, speaking to Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway about Toronto’s “underdog” status among great North American food cities. Luckily, Chang likes underdogs, which is why he brought Momofuku here in the first place. “I think Momofuku’s scrappy…and that’s how I view Toronto. I don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment at all.”

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Restaurants

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Cold Arts: 10 next-level ice creams and sorbets

Chefs are taking house-made ice creams and sorbets to new heights, goosing them with herbs, spices and savoury flavours to wildly delicious effect. Here, our picks for the city’s top 10 frozen desserts.

See all 10 desserts »

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People

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Why Momofuku’s David Chang thinks Yelp reviews are dumb

Momofuku Chef David Chang (Image: David Shankbone)

Momofuku Chef David Chang (Image: David Shankbone)

David Chang knows his fast food, so it makes sense that he’s signed on as the official Northeastern U.S. “burrito scout” for ESPN blog FiveThirtyEight, which is currently conducting a rigorous, March Madness–style search for the country’s top burrito (and, in the process, examining the relative reliability of crowdsourced recommendations versus other sources of data). Chang recently spoke with the site about his personal views on user-generated restaurant reviews, particularly those on Yelp. To put it concisely, he’s not a fan. Here’s what he had to say:

I’m just going to come out and say: Most of the Yelp reviews are wrong. They just are. Yelp is great for finding information if you forgot the address of a place. [...] But for the most part, no chef is going to take a Yelper’s review seriously, even though they might read them.

The problem with Yelpers, according to Chang? They take everything way too personally, and usually don’t know what they’re talking about.

The best analogy I can give is fantasy sports or lawn-chair stockbrokers. For the most part, unless you’re really studying the stats and you’re a former football player or baseball player and know the industry inside and out, it’s most likely that your insights aren’t that great.

Chang’s 12 restaurants across North America have pretty solid reviews on Yelp—but that’s nothing a few hundred outraged, vindictive Yelpers can’t change. You can read the full interview here.

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People

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Momofuku’s David Chang on why cheap wings are good, and Toronto restaurants could be better

Momofuku Chef David Chang (Image: David Shankbone)

Momofuku Chef David Chang (Image: David Shankbone)

It turns out Deadmau5 has much fancier taste in restaurants than David Chang, the James Beard Award–winning chef who introduced the world to cool fusion food. The Globe’s Ann Hui spent a night drinking and eating around town with Chang and his entourage of famous friends, including David McMillan and Fred Morin (masterminds of Montreal restaurant Joe Beef) and food writer Peter Meehan. Chang picked the venues, which included dim-sum restaurant Crown Princess Fine Dining, Oyster Boy on Queen West and, perhaps most surprisingly, Real Sports, home to one million chicken wings and TV screens. “The wings are really good. And people love it,” he said. “I’m over going against popular opinion.”

In a slightly contradictory vein, Chang also ragged a bit on Toronto’s good-but-not-awesome dining scene. “I’m not trying to piss people off, but why is it not elevated to the level where—people should be in awe of Toronto dining.” This from the owner of three of the most popular restaurants in Toronto. Change starts at home, pal.

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UPDATED: Momofuku Noodle Bar’s delivery service now includes dinnertime hours

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

Toronto’s lunchtime delivery options just got 85 times more exciting (and, we suspect, more calorific). As of today, downtowers can order and consume Momofuku Noodle Bar’s pork buns, roasted rice cakes and belly-topped ramen bowls without leaving their desks. (The online platform also lets diners order desserts from the Momofuku Milk Bar kiosk, including whole Crack Pies.) The new bicycle-delivery service operates weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and there’s a $25 minimum. For now, the delivery area is fairly circumscribed, with the main targets seeming to beunsurprisinglyoffice towers in the financial core. So, Toronto’s high-powered lawyers and bankers can look forward to a couple things: delicious, delicious ramen, and way more time spent napping under their desks.

UPDATE: It turns out that Noodle Bar’s lunchtime service was just the first step in a more comprehensive delivery plan. The restaurant has now expanded its delivery hours to include a dinnertime window that runs Monday to Friday from 4:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Next up: weekends?

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Restaurants

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Three Toronto Hot Spots Make EnRoute’s Annual “Best New Restaurants” List—Including Number One

enroute-logoIt’s that time again, when end-of-year lists start clogging our Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines. One we look forward to every October, though, is “Canada’s Best New Restaurants” by EnRoute—Air Canada’s consistently (and surprisingly) good in-flight magazine. This year, three excellent Toronto restaurants made the list. At number 10 is Parkdale’s “twisted hymn to the American South,” Electric Mud BBQ. At number two, David Chang’s University Avenue ode to the chef’s menu, Momofuko Shōtō. And at number one, Bar Isabel, where Grant van Gameren shows off his prowess with dish after dish of Spanish delights. You can see the full list here, along with notes about the trends EnRoute loves (lamb belly as the new pork belly) and hates (tables that are way too small).

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Restaurants

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One more reason to eat at Momofuku: a brand-new patio

Momofuku Daisho Patio

Daishō’s fried chicken will taste even better sans roof (Image: Renée Suen)

Torontonians have never been more spoiled for places to eat, drink and schmooze al fresco. In the last month alone, at least half a dozen new venues have opened, including El Catrin, a chandelier-lit Mexican terrace in the Distillery District, The Beverley, a swishy rooftop lounge on Queen West, and Food and Liquor, a cute backyard hideaway in Parkdale (not to mention soon-to-open patios at The Chase in the Financial District and Agave y Aguacate in Baldwin Village). That’s in addition to the list of dreamy open-air spots that opened earlier this summer. It only makes sense, then, that the city’s most dazzling culinary complex would join the patio party. Momofuku Daishō’s new terrace will be unveiled at next week’s midsummer soirée where guests will feast on steamed buns, bo ssäm and booze slushies in true summer style.

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Food Events

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Bo ssäm and grown-up slushies at Momofuku’s midsummer bash

Momofuku Summer Party

(Image: Momofuku)

The August Long Weekend is bittersweet: it’s at once a day off and the official midsummer hump. The Momofuku Summer Party is a chance to revel in some of the joys of summer—like food and booze—and stave off premature September blues. The August 7 soirée, which takes place at third-floor Daishō, will have food and drinks from Momofuku, including pork bo ssäm and booze-spiked slushies, and music from DJs Soul Proprietor and Phantom Signal. Tickets go for $75 with proceeds benefiting the City Life Film Project, a film program for at-risk youth.

Momofuku Summer Party, August 7, 8–11 p.m., Momofuku Toronto, 190 University Ave., momofukusummer13.eventbrite.ca

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Openings

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Introducing: Momofuku Milk Bar Toronto, the first international outpost of the New York bake shop

Introducing: Momofuku Milk Bar

(Image: Renée Suen)

Name: Momofuku Milk Bar
Neighbourhood: Downtown Core
Contact Info: 190 University Ave., 855-333-MILK, milkbarstore.com/main/toronto/, @momomilkbar
Owner/Chef: Christina Tosi

The Place: A refrigerated 12.5-by-six foot glass room on the second floor of the glittery Momofuku triplex at University and Richmond, just big enough for five or six people at a time. Baked goods are fully prepped at Milk Bar’s Brooklyn headquarters and shipped daily to the Toronto shop, where customers help themselves and pay at a register on the first floor. Some treats will also show up on the dessert menus at Noodle Bar and Daishō.

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Confirmed: Momofuku Milk Bar is opening in Toronto (today!)

Milk Bar Crack Pie

Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie (Image: Momofuku Milk Bar)

Finally some uplifting crack-related news: Momofuku Milk Bar, maker of the reportedly addictive Crack Pie, is opening today on the second floor of David Chang’s glittery University Avenue triplex. Last month, the brand’s reps denied rumours that the New York bake shop was coming to Toronto, despite reported gossip from staffers about a new, mysteriously empty glass cube overlooking the ground-level Noodle Bar. The diminutive space, which officially opens at 11:30 a.m., is more store than bakery, selling at-home baking mixes and a pared-down menu of confections, which will be hauled in daily from New York.

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Recipes

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Recipe: a ginger-spiked rum cocktail from Momofuku bartender Benjamin Deacon

Toronto Life Cookbook 2012 Recipe: Bundy-Bear
Toronto Life Recipes | Drinks
BUNDY-BEAR
By Benjamin Deacon
Momofuku

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Restaurants

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Update: Momofuku denies rumours that a Milk Bar is coming to Toronto

Milk Bar Crack Pie

The latest in exciting Toronto crack news: Momofuku’s Crack Pie (Image: Facebook)

Rumour has it that Milk Bar will soon join Noodle Bar, Daishō and Shōtō at David Chang’s University Avenue Momofuku complex, adding a sweet note to the acclaimed chef’s Toronto line-up. The original New York shop is famous for its irreverently named treats, like compost cookies, and curious flavour combinations, like banana curry bread and cereal-flavoured milk. A highly topical twist: one of the bakery’s bestselling items is a buttery confection called Crack Pie.

UPDATE: A local blog posted this morning that two staffers at the Toronto Momofuku complex confirmed a Toronto Milk Bar is on the way, but Momofuku’s press team says otherwise. Our contact tells us that opening a Milk Bar in Toronto is a “dream;” however, there are still no firm plans to do so. We guess we’ll just have to keep dreaming, too. 

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Restaurants

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Matt Blondin is no longer at Momofuku Daishō

From left to right: Daishō’s Eran Bick (sous chef), Jed Smith (sous chef), Sam Gelman (Momofuku Toronto executive chef) and Matt Blondin (executive sous chef) (Image: Renée Suen)

Matt Blondin, the ambitious Toronto chef that came up through Colborne Lane’s modernist kitchen before opening Acadia in 2011, is leaving his most recent post as Daishōs executive sous-chef. Blondin has bounced from one acclaimed restaurant to the next in recent years, leaving Acadia after a little more than a year and Daishō after an even shorter stint. Interestingly, his departure follows Patrick Kriss’s sudden exit from Acadia last week. Perhaps he’s eyeing his old gig?

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Restaurants

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Chef Patrick Kriss leaves Acadia

Patrick Kriss

(Image: Renée Suen)

Only a year after Momofuku Daisho wooed Matt Blondin away from Acadia, Patrick Kriss, the former Splendido chef de cuisine who replaced Blondin in the kitchen, is leaving the inventive College Street restaurant. Under Blondin, Acadia landed the number two spot on our list of best new restaurants in 2011 for its ambitious take on Lowcountry cooking. With Kriss in the kitchen, the restaurant received even more glowing praise. The owners Scott and Lindsey Selland are bringing in former Top Chef contestant Dustin Gallagher to take over until they find a new full-time chef. He started on Friday with his own menu, which is a marked departure from Blondin and Kriss’s elevated cuisine.

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Must-Try

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Must-Try: a heaping plate of crispy fried chicken served family style at Daisho

Must-Try: Daisho Fried Chicken

At Daishō, the largest of the three ­Momofuku restaurants, the chicken is lightly fried in a savoury batter and served family style. You’re meant to wrap the pieces in scallion pancakes, but the meat is so succulent it can be enjoyed on its own. $125 for four people. 190 University Ave., momofuku.com.

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