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David Chang x Shangri La ... here's hoping!

This morning on the rumour-mill:
@Urban_Toronto: Shangri-La lands David Chang as chef. http://bit.ly/dTfM6h
@coreymintz we all get on phone with Shangri La PR today. No confirmation of David Chang rumour until Monday

Via @PorchettaAndCo

Trying... to temper.. excitement... Mind, the hotel doesn't open until Q2 2012, so we have a year (more likely) to go. But... Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

update:
@davidchang @bleszcz > chris bosh south beach sucks...hello southern ontario > Phaneuf, Bargnani & Bautista > late late 2012ish? via westbank>shangri-la

Solidifying that rumour!

---
http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

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  1. Holy frickin' moly - that would be AMAZING!!!!

    2 Replies
      1. re: laidoffhound

        Ha - my belly laugh for the day! I think I just peaked...

      1. it would be really interesting if he made it over the border, but i'm having a hard time imagining it considering he hasn't gone cross country yet and that would be a bigger benefit to his promotion of the local tasty as well as increasing vegetables into our diet and reducing meat. that being said, his operations and i agree that santa barbara uni is delicious enough to drag across the country.

        his milk bar operation is much more replicable.

        1. Is there a corporate connection between the Shangri-La and the Chambers Hotel in NY where Ma Peche is located? That would put a little more credence to the rumour.

          1. Just updated with a recent tweet from @davidchang. Which I don't understand completely, but it sounds almost right...

            @davidchang @bleszcz > chris bosh south beach sucks...hello southern ontario > Phaneuf, Bargnani & Bautista > late late 2012ish? via westbank>shangri-la

            8 Replies
            1. re: jlunar

              wow, I was kidding at first, but seriously, it seems we may have a shot at the fried chicken! Maybe next someone will persuade Yasuda not to go back to Japan and open up shop here! @wishfulthinkin

              1. re: shekamoo

                pretty sure yasuda has left nyc already, although he still helps source fish for the restaurant since he lives in Tokyo.

                1. re: shekamoo

                  Why need Yasuda when we have Kaji already?

                  1. re: Bobby Wham

                    because Kaji, while most probably capable of doing so, doesnt make good nigiri, maybe because he thinks Toronto wont appreciate it. Yasuda was the least favorite of my high end sushi experiences in NYC and LA, but still way better than Kaji

                    1. re: shekamoo

                      Hm, beg to differ, While Yasuda was really good, I found the nigiri extra-extra small. The oyster with rock salt was my favourite. I still prefer Kaji's explosive nigiri performance.

                      1. re: Bobby Wham

                        oh on personality and showmanship Kaji sushi has easily the winning itamae. It is just the sushi itself that I find lacking compared to Yasuda or even Zen in Toronto

              2. Whoa, this would be a very high-profile grab for the city's culinary scene.

                1. This is weird, considering he has gotten offers in much more lucrative markets in the past.

                  If it goes down, let's hope it turns out better than Scarpetta, or DB/Lumiere in Vancouver. My guess is an outpost of Ma Peche since that's already in a hotel.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aser

                    Yes, based on my Scarpetta experience, while I'm excited for a Chang outpost, I reserve real judgement after I've eaten something!

                  2. If I'm a TTC ride away from pork buns, his fried chicken, country hams, and soft serve, that's sheer bliss. We're overdue - Yes we got Conant, but with Ramsay's Laurier BBQ and DB in Vancouver, Toronto needs more love.

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: miketoronto

                      If someone is willing to do what it takes to import those country hams (the issue is marketing board quotas, otherwise as far as I can tell it's completely legal at this point) that would rock.

                      1. re: miketoronto

                        Pretty sure DB closed both his restos in Vancouver?

                          1. re: syoung

                            What does DB in Vancouver have to do with David Chang in Toronto? I'm not sure what parallels are being drawn here?

                            1. re: jamesm

                              I wasn't the one making the parallel but ift's not that difficult to see it. Both are established restauranteurs wanting to make it in Canada. Daniel tried and looks like he's bailing. It remains to be seen whether Scott will succeed in Toronto (reviews haven't been positive). David is trying next and probably has already spoken with Daniel and Scott. The parallel is pretty clear. What are you missing?

                              1. re: syoung

                                Different food, different approaches, different models, different cities in different provinces with completely different restaurant landscapes.

                                Does that help clear up what I'm missing?

                                1. re: jamesm

                                  Money. Market depth. Recession impact. If a maestro like DB can't turn a buck, who can? The GTA resto biz hasn't exactly been robust. Chang is betting things will be rosier by late 2011, like most of us.

                                  1. re: Kagemusha

                                    Let's just be real clear, you haven't eaten at any of Chang's restaurants, right? They're not high-end. Even Ko, which is pricey, is not fine-dining...the chefs dish you out the food, you sit on stools around the stoves, and the money you are spending is on the plate with ingredients like foie and uni featured prominently. So comparing to Boulud, who entered Vancouver with a white tablecloth approach at the precise time that the economy shifted and people's tastes gravitated towards more casual dining experiences, is a faulty comparison. I daresay that if Boulud had gone in with his DBGB concept it'd be thriving.

                                    Talk of resto biz hurting in the GTA seems ridiculous to me when there are 2-hour waits every night at Guu, when places like Woodlot, Enoteca Sociale, and Frank's Kitchen are incredibly tough reservations. There are very, very successful restaurants in Toronto. The higher end of the market is hurting, yes, hence we see things like the redesigns of venerable stalwarts like Canoe and Splendido towards a more casual feel. But Chang is not fancy - his style is East Village lardcore Seoul food, and you're going to see the Noodle Bar here packed every night. The unknown is the (potentially?) Japanese concept, I bet that is higher-end as befits the hotel's 5* status, so yes maybe that one is more of a roll of the dice. But as a city we're pretty lucky to get a brand-new David Chang concept, not to mention Toronto is the first city outside of NY he's exporting his brand to - he's resisted the usual suspects like Vegas and Dubai thus far. Momofuku coming here first is a huge deal, and there's more than enough money in this city getting thrown at huge deals all the time.

                                      1. re: childofthestorm

                                        "Toronto is the first city outside of NY he's exporting his brand to"

                                        Not true although it hasn't opened yet the first non-NYC location will be Sydney, Australia later this year.

                                        1. re: childofthestorm

                                          It just depends on the way a person spins it. Ko is absolutely fine dining, it has 2 Micheline stars to begin with. The plating, the ingredients, all scream fine dining to me. Fine the servers are missing but it's not like the cooks there are just plunking down plates of food like it's a 24 hr diner. They've been properly trained and there is incentive for them to provide quality service. They get the tips after all.....

                                          Maybe I'm stupid for even trying to explain it to you, as others quite clearly see the reasons for comparison. NYC'er entering the Canadian market being the general theme, of course people are drawing parallels to DB, Connant and JGV. No single case is alike, but to fail to see the similarities.......

                                          "East Village lardcore Seoul food" - I don't know why but that line cracks me up.

                                          Looking forward to the small plate offal related dishes, not the ramen, haha.

                                          1. re: aser

                                            Ko perhaps but his other restaurants not so much. If you want to isolate Ko from the other ventures to prove the point fine, but I doubt that's the concept that will be tried here.

                                            As for the comparison between DB and Chang I can understand why some people are making it, I just think it's a bad one. High end French in Vancouver -- Noodle Bar in Toronto. There are far more differences than the vague similiarities of a NYC'er trying to make it in Canada.

                                            1. re: jamesm

                                              Isn't it a little pointless to discuss the economic feasibility of a future restaurant anyways? Chang has likely looked into this a lot better than any of us have. I bet he has an accountant and everything!

                                              1. re: graydyn

                                                a little pointless, maybe, but nonetheless an interesting topic of discussion. This is a foodie board not an economic one, I think we can talk the future prospects of this venture to death without having be CAs. It will be a discussion about what we think about the cultural and culinary scene in our city, its limits, and its potentials.
                                                I think the Noodle Bar will be packed just like GUU, and I hope they do fried chicken with or without reservation!! I dont know what the other place will be like, so I cant even indulge in idle speculation, as I have not been to Ko which would perhaps be the reference point.

                                                1. re: shekamoo

                                                  It won't be like Ko, that's really unrepeatable and I'm sure as a standalone business it loses Chang and company a load of money but it serves to support profits in other parts of the empire, a more likely rough comparison would be Ma Peche but using Kyoto kiaseki as a jumping off point rather than Vietnamese.

                                                  1. re: bytepusher

                                                    Actually, pretty sure Ko is profitable as a restaurant.

                                                    They have a fixed seating model, they know exactly how many customers they have. Every night is booked solid, so they can certainly plan/prep with costs in mind. Not much gets thrown away as they don't have to prep any extra to prepare for walk ins. It's a restaurateur's dream, steady predictable demand.

                                                    1. re: aser

                                                      What's going to be like Ko is Black Hoof & Company! But since Momofuku is going into a 5* hotel I bet for the Japanese-sounding concept we'll see something along the lines of Ma Peche in midtown, which is located in the Chambers Hotel and thus offers stuff like room service for guests, not to mention reservations. Ma Peche is a Vietnamese concept, I would guess this one will be Chang's riff on Japan.

                                                      But I could be WAY off-base.

                                                        1. re: childofthestorm

                                                          Looks like he was doing a little R & D in December so you may not be that off base.

                                                          I'd love for him to replicate a bowl from Jiro and serve it at Noodle Bar.

                                                          http://www.ramenate.com/2010/12/plot-...

                              2. Seeing is believing and we ain't seen nothin' yet apart from the Twitter and G&M froth. Q2/2012 isn't next door. If DB is downsizing in BC, then how's this crew going to strike gold in DT TO? Nice if it happens but I'm still breathing normally till something materializes.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: Kagemusha

                                  Momofuku is conceptually a thoroughly different paradigm than the high end DB and Scarpetta situations (notwithstanding Ko which is another thing entirely and let's not be confused, nobody is suggesting a Ko level place here). A more apropos comparison in many ways is Guu.

                                  Chang hired a chef from Noma to set up a culinary lab in Brooklyn about a year ago, in part to develop dishes for the restaurants but more to develop products for retail and whole concepts for new restaurants, if this is real I suspect the deal is more than a single restaurant, but rather the whole culinary program for the hotel will be a momofuku branded enterprise.

                                  -----
                                  Guu
                                  398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

                                  1. re: bytepusher

                                    We're talking TO not NYC. He'll have to right-size the show to work here. Hopefully, he'll be able to synch it to better times ahead. Otherwise. it's fantasy.

                                    1. re: Kagemusha

                                      None of his restaurants in NY are exactly large, they range from tiny (Ko) to medium-sized operations. And I would say they're not exactly what I call expensive - I dropped $220 w/ tax and tip for just myself at Ko but that was a 14 course tasting menu and we drank a ton. One can eat at Ssam Bar, Noodle Bar, or Ma Peche for about the cost of your average meal out.

                                      He opens a place like Ssam Bar or Ma Peche here and he'll kill it, Guu-level rammed every night, guaranteed.

                                      1. re: Kagemusha

                                        Have you actually been to any of the Momofuku restos in NYC? the concept is already rightsized. Guu and The Hoof work here and so could Noodle Bar or Ssam bar. Similar price point and approach.

                                        -----
                                        Ssam
                                        19 Finch Ave W, Toronto, ON M2N7K4, CA

                                        Guu
                                        398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

                                        1. re: bytepusher

                                          Granted but he's not done TO. I'm happy, really, but know it's a tough market. A better 2011/12 will be the critical ingredient.

                                          1. re: bytepusher

                                            Toronto is actually a perfect environment for most of the Momofuku concepts. They aren't on a grand scale and don't need to be 'right-sized'.

                                            1. re: jamesm

                                              How did Susur do with his take on this? Chang may simply think the fishin' is better in TO.

                                              -----
                                              Susur
                                              601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                                              1. re: Kagemusha

                                                Susur and Chang both face similar criticism at times, the "dressing up Asian food for white people" syndrome. It's interesting to see how divisive people are over Chang, they either love him or can't stand him.

                                                Looking forward to see how this one plays out......One thing I have to say, this still won't solve our ramen problem in Toronto, haha.

                                                -----
                                                Susur
                                                601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                                                1. re: aser

                                                  Amen on the ramen drought in TO. Same goes for yakitori or killer udon. A more liberal municipal policy on trucks or other mobile service options seems to be the problem but that's a whole other can of worms...

                                                2. re: Kagemusha

                                                  You're right. It will likely be a failure and is nothing to be excited about.

                                                  1. re: jamesm

                                                    a touch sensitive there....

                                                    He makes some interesting dishes, but ramen is not one of them.

                                      2. This is amazing news. Ko was a top 10 lifetime meal for me. And I still dream of the Bo Ssam meal me and my buddies scarfed.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: childofthestorm

                                          Sweet baby Jesus, David coming here would be spectacular for the food scene here.

                                        2. Corey Mintz confirms that momofuku sent out an email at 7PM confirming we will be getting a noodle bar and something called "daishi". Check his twitter feed. Hoorah!

                                          Edit: confirmed via Toronto Life http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: table4onthefly

                                            Wow, the Toronto food blogosphere was on fire with this one today. Very, very cool news. Haven't been this excited since I heard Guu was coming to town.

                                          2. Yup it's real, now we get 18 months of building hype.

                                            1. I was so excited to hear this when I woke up in the morning. It's actually what got me out of bed (as I was reading the news on my phone). So glad this was confirmed for real.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: 5andman

                                                Anything about the Toronto location is pure speculation as it is 18th months away

                                                One assumes that the since they are using the same name the concept and menu structure will be similar, but since the New York location makes a lot of use of hyperlocal ingredients, in particular the suppliers of pork products it will be interesting to see what they come up with in Toronto.

                                                1. re: bytepusher

                                                  Amazing! I am too distracted by the millions of options when I am in NY to ever make it to one of his places there. There are independent farmers raising some rare pork breeds now, its getting better all the time I think if the Ontario food police weren't so nasty!

                                              2. I tried to stay out of this thread - haven't been to Ko, but found Ssam "just OK" (so didn't make an effort to get to Ko).
                                                However, guys, note that David Chang is a SUPERB MARKETER.
                                                Just look at the buzz already!
                                                I'm waiting until it/they actually open.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                  Not sure if anybody posted this yet, but the Toronto Star has the story:

                                                  Momofuku chef reveals details of Toronto expansion

                                                  "The first floor will feature "some type of rendition of Noodle Bar. We don’t want to make anything a facsimile, and I think Toronto deserves more than just throwing something there."

                                                  (Don’t worry: Momofuku’s famous fried chicken and pork buns are guaranteed to be on the menu.)

                                                  There will be a bar on the second floor. The third floor will have a restaurant called Momofuku Daisho. Daisho refers to a pair of swords once worn by samurais in Japan, but Chang picked it for its secondary meaning: "Big and small.""

                                                  http://www.thestar.com/living/food/ar...

                                                  Edit to add: Globe and Mail: Megachef David Chang dishes on why he's setting up shop in Toronto

                                                  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/f...

                                                  1. re: canmark

                                                    as I have already said: Fried Chicken!!