At Kōjin—named after the Japanese god of the hearth—chef Paula Navarrete is not afraid to play with fire. Kōjin is dedicated to introducing Southern Ontarian ingredients to flames. Here, hardwood doubles as both cooking fodder and decor. The parilla (an adjustable Argentinian grill) is stoked for hours. After the fire dies, the embers are used to slow-roast salt, tomatoes, peppers, and more, imbuing everything with a robust smokiness. Chef Navarrete worked her way up the Momofuku food chain, starting as a line cook at celeb chef David Chang’s Noodle Bar. Six years later, she was the executive chef in charge of reimagining Momofuku’s upscale Toronto outpost. The food has David Chang moments, like an XO sauce–flavored steak tartare served with all dressed chips, but the menu is Navarrete’s biography on a plate: born in Columbia, finished in the melting pot of Toronto.
Subway: St. Andrew, then walk N on University AvePhone 647/253-8000 Prices Main courses $25–$29 lunch, $25–$78 dinner Cuisine Type International Web site Kōjin
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