Location: 190 University Avenue, Toronto
I actually really liked Momofuku Daisho (including, of course, the burger, though their brunch was also quite delicious). Alas, both it and the more upscale Shoto shut down earlier this year to make way for Kojin, which is essentially Momofuku’s take on a steakhouse.
Considering how meat-based the menu is, I had very, very high hopes for their hamburger. And indeed, it is (almost) as delicious as you’d hope. Almost! But I have a few nitpicks, because I’m me so of course I have a few nitpicks.
One of the bigger issues is obvious as soon as you take a look at the burger; it’s got these big, ridiculous Gruyere cheese wings. In theory, these things should be amazing. You can just snap them off and then eat them as a side dish, which is what I did. They’re like big fat cheese chips. They’re great.
The problem is inside the burger. The cheese was obviously cooked separately from the patty and then placed on top after it had melted. So the whole thing is crispy, not just the edges.
I shouldn’t even have to say this, but the cheese on a cheeseburger needs to be gooey and to melt into all of the crags and crevices of the patty. It shouldn’t be crunchy. That’s just… what is that??
Even worse: because of how much moisture there is inside the burger from the juicy patty and all of the sauce, the once-crispy cheese sogs up, and is actually more chewy than anything else. It’s weird and hard and wrong. I removed it altogether in the second half of my burger, and it came right off (which is how you know something is seriously amiss — the cheese and the patty should meld into one. They should be inseparable).
The burger is also topped with pickles, braised onions, and garlic mayo. The toppings are mostly quite good, though the mayo is way stronger than it needs to be. It takes away from the amazing flavour of the beef.
Because yes, the beef is pretty special. It’s cooked to a perfect rare, it’s extremely juicy, it has a great amount of crust from the griddle, and an intensely beefy flavour that’s beyond satisfying. It’s really obvious that they’re using great quality beef, because the flavour is spectacular.
My only issue with the patty — and it’s a minor one — is that the grind is a little bit too coarse. I think it might even be hand-chopped rather than ground. It’s certainly delicious, but it has a substantial, steaky chew; it comes dangerously close to tipping the scales from hamburger to steak sandwich. It never quite gets there, but it’s a tad closer than I’d like. I want my hamburger to taste like a hamburger. If I wanted a steak sandwich, I’d order a steak sandwich.
Still, it’s so delicious that it’s hard to complain too much. I have a lot of little issues with the burger, but that patty is so damn good that they all just fade away. It’s amazing.
Okay, one more complaint: the bun. It’s actually very good, but it’s quite soft and it just isn’t up to the task. The very juicy, saucy burger defeated it. By the last few bites it had pretty much disintegrated into mush. The burger clearly needs something with a bit more heft and sturdiness.
It comes with a couple of enormous onion rings and ranch dipping sauce instead of fries. They’re not the best onion rings I’ve ever had, but they’re nicely cooked and tasty.
Oh, also: it’s seriously expensive at 25 bucks. It doesn’t feel overpriced because of how amazing the beef is, but I think it needed to be mentioned.