Momofuku, does the name means lucky peach as claimed by the establishment or is it a tribute to Momofuku Ando the inventor of instant ramen? Irrespective of what it refers to , I was looking forward to the experience of how one of North America’s finest culinary figures David Chang and the Momofuku team interpret food in their Toronto establishment. Momofuku , Toronto is divided into the Noodle bar which has a communal style dining serving primarily noodle dishes (reservations are not required ), Nikai which is the bar, Daisho which serves dinner and lunch and Shoto which is the chef’s tasting menu. Reservations are recommended for both the Daisho and the Shoto. My focus here is on the Noodle bar and the Daisho.
For starters , we ordered the kimchi along with some locally brewed Izumi Nama sake .The kimchi was fermented just right with the perfect amount of heat. Over the years I have had plenty of over-fermented kimchi which are extremely acidic and bordering on acrid this was not one of them. The sake was medium with a crisp , fresh and fruity flavor that would be a great accompaniment with any noodle dish.
The noddle dishes had quite a few impressive options and the choices were always going to be difficult however, I finally settled with the Ja Ja noodle. This dish comprised of a spicy black bean sauce, pork shoulder, smoked pickle and a fried egg.
The noodle dish had plenty of “umami” and was well balanced. My only complaint was that the quantity was relatively less when compared to the Momofuku Ramen. For those of you who like a classic ramen in broth, the momofuku ramen is highly recommended. The Momofuku ramen , had a light but very flavorful broth comprising of both pork shoulder and pork belly. The dish was topped with poached egg which had a perfect honey like viscosity typical of a perfectly poached egg.
The dessert options were quite interesting and the cereal milk flavored ice cream with toasted cereal captured my attention.
The taste of the ice cream, true to it’s name , reminded you of the milk left over in your corn flakes cereal bowl. It was not very sweet something which automatically is a big bonus in my book! There was a bit of saltiness in the crunch , which complemented the taste of the ice cream
The service was prompt and dishes were well spaced out. The servers did not rush to clear the table despite being a communal style dining and it being a busy weekday. Another big bonus in terms of service was the fact that the server didn’t come every 30 seconds to ask “Can I get you anything else?” allowing for a peaceful enjoyment of the meal. I noticed it to be a general trend among all waiters in the establishment which leaves the guest with a positive image of the establishment, making you want to come back again.
And… come back I did! My second trip to Momofuku was to try out the food in the daisho. Daisho requires prior reservations, hence one should plan accordingly. In daisho the dining style is to share dishes, quite akin to a tapas house.
For appetizers we went for the eggplant and duck buns . The eggplant buns were on the drier side , though flavorful. The duck buns were juicy and the date hoisin sauce elevated the flavor. Our accompaniments were once again the Izumi Sake, well why not ! It indeed is a very good sake!
This being winter time, with festive season fast approaching , it was the perfect time to try a festive fowl. Though for me, I don’t need any festivities to try duck , my personal favorite among fowls! The muscovy duck with brussels sprouts stood out in the menu and was recommended by our server.The duck was cooked perfectly, medium rare with crispy skin glazed with a curried cranberry glaze served over a turnip cake and with roasted turnips. The turnip cake went perfectly with the duck , soft and moist and well seasoned. The brussels sprouts really stood out! They were flash fried and served in a fish sauce vinaigrette with mint and puffed rice crisps. This is one of those dishes that really make you think, a daring dish but didn’t fail to hit the spot.
The servers were prompt and polite considering it was a busy Saturday evening. Dishes were well spaced out and tables were cleared out on time without rushing the dinners.
Overall both experiences were quite pleasant and I would rate Momofuku Noodle bar and the Daisho at 9/10, not completely sure why it is rated around 3 on yelp, goes to show yelp ratings can be quite misleading. The atmosphere is relaxed and you can drop in at the Noodle bar for a quick bite of noodles or you can plan a pleasant evening with your friends and families at the Daisho.