Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Momofuko Noodle Bar

There's only one reason you should go to The Noodle Bar and it's not what you think. The pork belly buns (2 for $10) with hoisin, scallion and pickled cucumber are insanely good. The circular bun is perfectly light and fluffy with a subtle sweetness. The belly is fatty yet tender. And really, who doesn't like pickled cucumber? I could eat five of these little darlings.

And If I have had, I would have left happier. Instead, I got sucked into the promise of David Chang's noodles. The namesake ramen soup ($15) has more pork belly, a poached oozy egg, shredded pork shoulder, nori, cabbage, fish cake and scallion. The broth is ok. It's dark, deep and once you puncture the egg, it's very cloudy. The ingredients are fine too. The noodles on the other hand are not. Unlike the light and fluffy buns, the ramen are chewy and too dense. They are like squiggly strings of lead.

Now, I know I'm no expert on ramen. I know that these wheat noodles are supposed to have some chew but there was nothing pleasing about this soup.

I can't finish it.

You're going to bash me for saying this but the instant ones for .99 cents are more high-spirited.

I'm shocked.

Ninety dollars (including tax and tip) for two beers, two buns, two noodle dishes and an order of chicken wings.

Guess bourgeois street food isn't my thing.

Friday, November 2, 2012


This small, unassuming resto at Bloor and Landsowne opened over a year ago and I've been meaning to check it out. Tonight, I finally made it.

The room is simple. There's no fuss. The menu is small and the drink menu even smaller. No house cocktails, no white liquor and a chalkboard menu that just states the main ingredient in the dish i.e beets, chicken, pickerel.

We look to the waiter for guidance but his lackadaisical approach is not only uninspiring but at times, I wish he'd just stop talking. If I had to guess, I'd say he smoked a fatty right before his shift. Listening to him serve us is like watching paint dry.

He does say the menu is ideal for sharing and I agree. We descend upon a self planned three course meal...

Rabbit rillette are smooth and creamy. I prefer my salted and chopped meat to be a bit more rustic but the taste is on point and the pickled green onion on the side is a wise addition.

A thin buckwheat pancake is smeared with a carrot purée and topped with a creamy French Brie, walnuts and dressed endive. It's unique.

Our mid is a gnocchi with radicchio and Gorgonzola; lots of Gorgonzola. The bitter radicchio, although a great flavor balancer, seems a bit defeated under the influence of the strong cheese. The gnocchi are soft. They are way too soft almost to the point of gluey mush but the pungent cheese goes so well with our wine, that I'm enjoying myself.

Lastly, a lamb shank braised in tomato sauce is heavy on the rosemary and soapy marjoram. It's too fatty but the flesh is very tender, very Fall.

Who doesn't love beets? This choice of side is purple and roasted. It's served with a medallion of goat cheese that's been combined with ground walnut. Unfortunately, the walnuts are more puréed than chopped and the result is a chalky disk of cheese. They should've gone for a competing crunch.

Too full for dessert, we opt for espresso and digestives instead.

Dinner for two with cocktails, a bottle of wine, espresso and cognacs: $165 (including tax and tip).