Review: A-OK Foods, Yours Truly’s spin-off ramen and snack bar
930 Queen St. W., second flr. 647-352-2243
Jeff Claudio, the chef at the Ossington strip’s Yours Truly, recently devoted his kitchen to a studiously ambitious tasting menu. Fans of his cheaper bar snacks must get their fix at this spin-off location above a Queen West convenience store. The room resembles a South Asian street food stall as reimagined by Björk, with concrete block server stations, cedar shingle panelling and jade-green picnic tables for communal dining. A chalkboard menu offers small plates of spicy, lightly battered chicken wings, bundles of lime-cured tofu and smoky salt cod, and a tangy salad of hamachi and salmon sashimi, frilly seaweed and baby shimeji mushrooms in ponzu dressing. This is one of the few restaurants in the city to make its own ramen—in a climate-controlled room visible (to the fetishistic pleasure of noodle snobs) through a glass wall. A bowl of tsukemen ramen is pleasantly chewy and elastic, but the accompanying slab of pork belly turned stiff and dry on the grill. It comes with a bowl of nostril-burning dipping sauce made of chilies, black bean paste, Sichuan peppercorns and burnt garlic. From the miniscule drinks list, choose the milky, fire-extinguishing horchata.