Chef Clement Chan and Steve Kuan – partners in the popular Le Tigre food truck – are opening a brick and mortar restaurant called Torafuku at 958 Main Street. If you’re unfamiliar with the neighbourhood, that’s between The Electric Owl and Campagnolo and right across the street from The Cobalt and Pizzeria Farina.
The 2200 sqft, 48 seater will serve up modern pan-Asian cuisine, izakaya-style (small share plates). On a recent walkthrough of the space, Chan supplied me with four out of the fourteen dishes that might be on the menu on opening day (subject to change, natch)…
kickass aburi zushi
torched pork belly kickass rice in a box
“calamari” the way i like it
humboldt squid, onion, tomato, lychee, arugula, sweet chili dressing
dirty birdy fried rice
chicken liver, heart, prawns, tofu, egg
finger licken chicken karaage, buttermilk aioli, angry sauce
When it opens this summer (likely mid-June), Torafuku (from the Japanese: Happy/Lucky Tiger) will be licensed with an 8 seat kitchen bar. The space has been completely redone, so they’ve had the opportunity to build to suit their needs. Half of their square footage will be dedicated to commissary work (to feed the food truck), while the other half will serve the restaurant. The only design element in place at the time of my tour was a baffling reinforced concrete communal table that appeared to defy gravity.
Chan’s good rep and skills (ex-Hapa Umi, currently sous at Raw Bar) are a terrific fit for this location, so I think they’re going to do well from day one. I suspect Chan and Kuan are anticipating as much, as they plan on parking the food truck out front during service so that diners have options (no reservations). Torafuku will open for six nights to start (closed Mondays), with brunch/lunch service to hopfully follow at some point in the future.