Introducing: Daishō, Momofuku Toronto’s home for “large-format” meals
Up on the third floor of the Momofuku complex is Daishō, an 80-seat space devoted to large family-style meals. Ample natural light spills into the airy space by day, while at night the room is softly illuminated by retro-modern Excel chandeliers from Rich Brilliant and Willing. Completely encased in glass, the room’s vaulted ceiling is dominated by a grand finned structure made of oak, which not only brings warmth to the minimalistic space but serves as an elegant beacon along University Avenue. Around the room’s periphery are a number of four-tops surrounded by black Maruni Hiroshima chairs, while the heart of the room is made up of communal seating (there’s also a central bar and, in the southeast corner, a Chinese-style round table that seats 10).
Of all the Momofuku Toronto concepts, Daishö has the most extensive menu, with “large-format” meals for parties of four to 10 guests ($125-$600, reserved in advance) and à-la-carte sharing plates ($10-$28). While the bossam ($240 for six to 10 people) and fried chicken ($125 for four to six people) options are comparable to those at NYC’s Ssäm Bar, Daishō also offers beef short ribs ($220 for four to six people) and a 65-day dry-aged beef ribeye ($600 for six to eight people). Likewise, the à-la-carte menu has a few Ssäm Bar classics (e.g., “apple kimchi and brussels sprouts with puffed rice”), but there are also a number of original dishes and, interestingly, a dish from New York’s WD-50 (“chicken (Harrison Co-op, ON)—egg, carrot, mole”). Although executive chef Sam Gelman oversees the menu, the kitchen is helmed by executive sous chef Matt Blondin (Acadia, Colborne Lane), and sous chefs Eran Bick (NYC’s Má Pêche) and Jed Smith (Paris’ Pierre Gagnaire, London’s Sketch), who take care to use products from local vendors like Kolapore Springs and Cookstown Greens.
True to Daishō’s concept, the drinks are also available in large formats, including mini-kegs, gallon growlers and family-style sakes (there’s also a mostly European wine list and cocktails). Although walk-ins are accepted, reservations for dinner from Monday to Saturday are encouraged, in particular for the family-style courses—indeed, there’s only one rib-eye available per night, so advance planning is essential.