Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Toronto: Momofuku (Noodle Bar)

oh fuk!
:Adelaide + University:

I had a love affair with David Chang. In my head.

He’s a Korean-American chef who, as portrayed on television and the media, appears hilarious. I’m a sucker for laughs. His life revolves around pork. I’m a sucker for pigs. He’s won three James Beard awards. I’m a sucker for over-achievers.

Now I say had for two reasons: Obviously I’m a grown woman and don’t really have fantasy relationships with chefs I love. Secondly, I liked his mission – to bring quality food to middle-class public – but I'm not sure that's happening in Toronto.

I always thought he was largely responsible for bringing the no-frills/my-way-or-the highway attitude back to the city of NYC. In fact, his many restaurants are a testament to the fact the public doesn’t mind his attitude, if he’s serving good grub. Then he opened Momofuku Noodle Bar at the Shangri-La? Really? It’s so not middle-class. But I suppose given the fact the restaurant’s menu is still reasonably priced, I shouldn’t judge where, and only the what. So I will, but I am no longer crushing. 

My dinner date is my lucky peach - Aerie.  Momofuku is lucky that Aerie and I didn't mind waiting.  It gave us one-and-a-half hours to walk down memory lane.  We partied like we did in 1999...

As we were finishing up, I got a text from Momofuku telling us out table was ready and it would be held for ten minutes.  No one likes to wait.  But knowing that you can leave your number and get a text is efficient.  You can use that time to wait aimlessly, or you can use that time.  Your choice, not Chang's.

We got seated - and it's cute.  The little wooden stools were fine for me and Aerie, but we're petite, I wonder how comfortable they are for anyone bigger.  Service was friendly, fun, and SO efficient.
Full disclosure dictates that I tell you I love Chang’s pork buns. So yes, they are just as loveable here north of the border. Everything else? Well, it’s good. Aerie and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal (but could have done without the sake slush cocktail...). 

I’ve heard all the complaints, and there are many momofukuhaters: “for a $16 bowl of noodles, it was sh*t”, “I hated it”, “it’s alright, nothing to wait in line for”, the rice was okay”…

I have nothing to say to those people. We are all entitled to our own opinions. I mean I just threw down a big one about the fact it’s in a haughty hotel. But at the end of the day, I always eat in CONTEXT. Chang’s signature dish is perfect:

If you don't know. Get.to.know.

His lobster buns were also stellar:

Fresh, flavourful and a nice change from the pork.
The ramen was neither heavy nor rich, but flavourful. And the egg – PERFECTLY cooked – it ooooozedddd.

The special rice with crispy chicken skin:

Tasty with a kick.

His food is good and it’s moderately priced. That’s exactly what he wanted to do. In context, it all makes sense so I’m not going to knit-pick. And trust me, if there was no context I would.  During my last visit to NYC I was sorely disappoitned with some of the food at momofuku.  I was annoyed, but far from hating.  His pork buns never let me down. They are like my family. Unconditional.

Momofuku on Urbanspoon


  1. Went by Momofuku on Saturday, line up was long. After hearing comments, I will wait to see further reviews before I pay for something I either won't eat or enjoy! Sounds to shi shi to me.

    1. Fooody!!! Yes the lines ups are long. But the option to leave your number makes it manageable. If you like pork - you will enjoy his pork buns. They have made him famous for a good reason - they're really, really, good. It's in a shishi place, but the style and food aren't...give it a go ;)

  2. Nice review. Good to read about the food and not how well connected you are. Good commentary too. I like your style! I didn't steal the best thing you ever ate...honest! I just like the show!

  3. fareeatales, thank you...I like your blog too - always nice to click and be welcomed by a page of pork - pulled pork, brisket, hahaha...mmmmmm. I don't think the best thing one ate can be trademarked - EVERYONE should have such a list!!!!

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