Check out the Top 10 new restaurants of 2014 — and take the quiz to see where you should be eating!

The top 10  
 
No. 2 - Shōtō
No 2
 

Shoto

Above: Tasting-menu dishes crafted by chef-de-cuisine Mitchell Bates include scallops with nori.

Shōtō
190 University Ave., Third Floor, Toronto
647-253-8000 Momofuku.com

“You’re savouring every bite, like the final pages of a great book.”

Dining Guide 2013

More than a decade of award-winning restaurants, along with many of our favourite spots across the country.

enRoute Eats

Our guide to restaurants across Canada. Download the app for free in the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Toronto

For all the outsize heft of David Chang’s Five-headed Momofuku empire on University Avenue, tiny Shōtō feels remarkably removed from the via-New-York hype. Tucked behind a wall of wine coolers on the third floor, 22 patrons sit around the urbane U-shaped black granite bar (in real chairs! with backs!) and spend roughly 150 minutes, plus a fair chunk of change, to experience a storybook of a tasting menu, with all the typical annoying bits – the repetition of ingredients, the showy caprice, the monotonous pacing – smartly edited out.

Your meal here is authored by eight young virtuosos: five chefs, and two wine stewards who execute roving sommelier Jonathan Gonsenhauser’s daily wine pairings (see below). It unfolds like a lively collection of 10 short stories, spanning the culinary world but focusing on the seasonal bounty of Alice Munro’s Ontario.

Each delightful dish – a tiny cup of liquid curry that gives up a single perfect bite of Dungeness crab, a dry-aged beef rib carpaccio topped with poppy lumpfish roe – lasts exactly as many beats as required to reach the next plot twist. By the time the Danish sous-chef grates a block of pine-nut miso onto your rhubarb and vanilla cake and the cute wine steward in the jean jacket pours that perfect glass of late-harvest cab franc from Stratus in Niagara, you’re still savouring every bite, like the final pages of a great book.

The epilogue: five sweaty, victorious chefs executing a well-deserved beer toast of Steam Whistle, “clinking” their plastic tubs repurposed from soup stock containers. To happily ever after.

Matchmaker: Shoto’s Jonathan Gonsenhauser on the art of wine pairing

“Wine pairing is almost like a travel fantasy, showcasing the best the world has to offer,“ says Momofuku’s 29-year-old South African-born beverage director, who devises a set of pairings for Shoto’s ever-changing 10-course tasting menu. “We like to play around a bit. It’s a lot of fun for me.” And for us too.

Shoto Menu
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

X

We aim to have one sake and one beer on the pairing menu each night and something sparkling. The Demon Slayer has bright lively fruit, so it holds up well to the spice of that Cantonese sauce

X

This pinot sparkler has enough weight and ripeness to play against the saltiness of the lumpfish roe and bacon. I would pair the entire meal with 10 champagnes and just go home if they let me.

X

This is a really regional pairing. What are people eating in Greece? Octopus! Assyrtiko is lemony, with some salinity and sulphur, and the athiri adds some fruitiness, some playfulness.

X

It’s all about matching the texture of this dish, and rich chenin from the Loire can do that. You’ve also got enough zipping acidity to cut through the goat butter and pickled egg.

X

Frappato is a grape that sommeliers are turning to lately for a high-acid, lowertannin red. The chicken liver has that earthy character of organ meat, and the acidity cleans up those flavours a bit.

X

Momofuku in New York works with Channing Daughters. I think we’re the only people pouring it in Ontario. It’s a red grape handled like a white, with just a touch of skin contact. The smokiness and oxidation play to the almonds

X

We try to stay in our own backyard whenever possible. The style of the beer is sort of rustic, what farmers would make in their barn, and the dish isn’t glamorous either. Dirty dish, dirty beer. I just love this pairing

X

The day a new dish hits the menu, I get a bare-bones description from the chef at 10 a.m. Then, as a staff, we taste the final dish with two or three pairing options at 5 p.m. This pinot gris has a touch of residual sugar to play off the spicy notes.

X

This palate refresher before the dessert doesn’t need a drink pairing, but I’ve heard that the chefs were describing it as
tasting like a gin and tonic, which doesn’t surprise me. They do like their G&Ts.

X

The acidity and sugar levels line up nicely across the wine and the dish. As soon as I heard there was going to be rhubarb on the menu, I ordered a case of this wine. I knew it would be a winner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *