Mon­day night’s all right for din­ing

Es­tab­lished restos host pop-ups on quiet nights

North York Post - - Food - By Jes­sica Wei

If you lis­ten to con­ven­tional wisdom, Mon­days are the worst nights to eat out. It used to be that de­liv­er­ies came on Tues­days, so restau­rants were per­ceived to be serv­ing left­over pro­duce and pro­tein. And so, Mon­days be­came prime couch and Net­flix nights. How­ever, ris­ing rents have forced ex­per­i­men­tal and am­bi­tious Toronto chefs to make use of restau­rant spa­ces on these tra­di­tion­ally less pop­u­lar nights of the week. Now, Mon­days and Tues­days are the most ex­cit­ing nights to dine out. These tem­po­rary restos ap­pear one night and the next they’re gone. But don’t worry! They’ll be back next week –– same bat-time, same bat-chan­nel.

Fat Choi on Ossington

The fam­ily-run Soos Restau­rant has been serv­ing up mod­ern Chi­nese-Malaysian plates since 2014 when they opened shop on Ossington. But this sum­mer, ma­tri­arch and chef Tri­cia Soo has turned the Mon­day and Tues­day ser­vice into a new din­ing con­cept called Fat Choi. Launched on June 4, Fat Choi de­liv­ers in­no­va­tive plant-based pan-Asian fu­sion. Menu items in­clude roti stuffed with Ma­mak-spiced chick­peas and onion and an im­pres­sively true-to-taste spin on Pek­ing duck, with tofu skin wrapped in a scal­lion pan­cake. Their sloppy Jack alone is worth the Mon­day trek to Ossington: It’s bar­be­cued jack­fruit, kim­chi and sam­bal aîoli stuffed in a deep-fried man­tou, re­sult­ing in a crispyspicy-saucy (and oddly meaty) sammy so good you’ll want to don a pair of pas­tel coloured shorts, join the hip­sters on the west side and in­vest some cap­i­tal into this con­cept so you can dine on it ev­ery night of the week. The fam­ily hopes to open a stand-alone Fat Choi restau­rant in 2019. ‘Til then, it ’ ll re­main Ossington’s best-kept Mon­dayTues­day se­cret. 94 Ossington Ave.

Soba comes to Bloor

Sure, you think you’ve had soba noo­dles be­fore, but have you re­ally had soba noo­dles be­fore? Widely known as Canada’s premiere soba master, Ted Iizuka has been mak­ing soba noo­dles on Tues­day nights at Ichiriki Ja­panese Restau­rant since 2009. Iizuka per­son­ally se­lects or­ganic buck­wheat from fields in Manitoba, cleans and mills the buck­wheat into flour him­self, mixes the dough by hand and cuts it into long, thin noo­dles us­ing a spe­cial knife. The soba ends up tast­ing and feel­ing re­mark­ably lighter and less gummy than the dried pre­pared noo­dles one usu­ally as­so­ci­ates with soba. It’s served the same day it’s made, on a bam­boo plate along­side a broth of soy, bonito and mirin for dip­ping. But, alas, such ten­derly hand­crafted things were not meant for daily con­sump­tion (un­less you live in Ja­pan, of course). In Toronto, find it at Ichiriki on Tues­day nights. 120 Bloor St. E #103

K.Din­ners hits the Danny

Chef Ken Yau, whose re­sumé boasts time spent at the three­Miche­lin-starred Fat Duck in the U.K. as well as Scaramouche closer to home, started his Mon­day night din­ner series — K.Din­ners — in Septem­ber 2017. He brought his fine din­ing chops to Fiorentina on the Dan­forth, where he doles out a 13-course tast­ing meal for up to 16 guests at a time. The din­ners are BYOB (guests get wine pair­ing ad­vice from a som­me­lier ahead of time). Cour­ses in­clude art­fully ar­ranged morsels of Nori steak tartare and fish skin, and lump­fish caviar and clams. Yau does the prep and cook­ing him­self, only re­ly­ing on as­sis­tance from one server and ar­ti­sanal bread from Matthew James Duffy (for­merly of Café Boulud). The din­ners are fully booked un­til 2019, but in­ter­ested pa­trons can call Yau di­rectly to get on the waitlist.

Chef Ken Yau pre­par­ing one of the cour­ses for K.Din­ners

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