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Sake guru brings Korean tapas to Yorkville

Sang Kim, one of the forces behind Blowfish and the consultant behind Ki's aggressive training of its staff in the fine art of explaining sake to a still mostly innocent clientele, is bringing a Korean tapas restaurant to Yorkville.

KOKO! Share Bar, on the site of the old walk-down Sushi Bada at 81 Yorkville (below Dolce), will have a staff of 12 in two shifts and feature bossam, which is Korean for wrap. Dishes will feature loose leaf lettuce with steamed rice, and things like roasted pork belly and Korean barbequed meats served, on one side of the restaurant, at two long communal tables (the other side is reserved for the more reserved, with more usual two-seater table options). Following the long tradition of Korean and Japanese culinary hook-ups, KOKO! will also serve tamaki, which is the Japanese version of bossam, with seasoned seaweed instead of lettuce, sushi rice, raw fish and tempura.

A fan of Korean cuisine, but not of Toronto's two "Little Koreas" (on Bloor west of Bathurst and on Yonge north of Sheppard). "They beat up on each other by slashing prices," says Kim, who estimates his lunches for two will be under $40, and dinners about $100,  "and they do Japanese food very poorly. I like not having to compete with pork bone soup pricing."

Demolition started on Jan. 9, with a goal of an early February soft opening and a launch on Feb. 14, in honour of Valentine's Day, as well as Chinese and Korean New Year.

Writer: Bert Archer

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