NYC superchef David Chang makes himself at home in Toronto
Author Claire Oliver
New York City’s East Village may be the center of David Chang’s culinary domain, but since the end of last year Toronto has run a close second. In September, the Momofuku chef opened a four-restaurant palace in a three-story glass cube—complete with commissioned artwork—next to the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto. “We were lucky to be given a large space, which isn’t normally available to us in other cities,” he says, “especially New York.”
Compared with his scattered outposts in New York and one-off in Sydney (the tasting room Seiōbo), the Toronto project represents a massive leap of faith in the city, which Chang believes has diners that will appreciate his often experimental aesthetic. To that end, he’s created a sort of Momofuku laboratory here, to both replicate and develop his trademarks: There’s a second Noodle Bar, whose ramen and steamed pork buns helped put Momofuku on the map, as well as his third tasting menu–driven restaurant, Shōtō, and bar/cocktail lounge Nikai. Rounding out the set is Daishō, which has expanded Momofuku’s famed large-format meals (like , a pork shoulder with oysters and rice) to include beverage options like growlers and mini kegs.
Off the clock, Chang patronizes Toronto hot spots like Cheese Boutique, a provisions shop that frequently hosts international chefs; Asian Legend, a local dim sum and stir-fry chain; and Hoof Raw Bar, a trendy seafood joint that treats fish like charcuterie. “There’s a delicious food scene here,” Chang says. “The best parts are the suburban areas and the ethnic foods you can find.”
As for his favorite Toronto discovery, it’s a humble staple: Kozlik’s Mustard. “It’s memorable when you have the best of something,” he says. “In my opinion, this is the best mustard anywhere.”