Sunday, May 2, 2010

Susur Lee's LEE Restaurant in Toronto

When I first saw that Susur Lee's restaurant had a $28 prix fixe, I was so excited I almost jumped in my seat. I've heard of how utterly amazing Susur is from many many other people, and have idolized him ever since I saw the episode of him being on Iron Chef!

So of course, I had to try this $28 prix fixe. Never had Susur's food before and only knowing that he makes Asian fusion cuisine, I didn't really know what to expect. The two of us decided to try different things from the menu, since they offered two choices for the appetizer, main, and dessert.

The Table settings with a plate to place appetizers to share.

Szechwan Hot & Sour Soup
Chicken & shredded vegetable

We thought that this was fairly generic, but pretty good. It has yiutiao slices on top with sesame oil. I find that this soup is more Cantonese styled rather than Sichuan styled, as it's more sour than hot.

Singaporean Style Slaw
(contains nuts)

Susur's signature dish for manu years. This was AMAZING!!!!!!! I could eat it FOREVER! The mesh of textures and flavours with the salted ume dressing was sensational. No wonder he serves it at all his restaurants. Even people who are mostly carnivores will enjoy this dish. Apparently has 18 ingredients:(found a recipe online)
1 pickled red onion
1 1/2 cups Salted Apricot Dressing
2 green onions, both white and green parts, julienned
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 taro root, peeled and julienned
2 ounces rice vermicelli – broken into 3 inch pieces
1 large English cucumber, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 small jicama, peeled and julienned
2 large roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
6 teaspoons crushed roasted peanuts
4 teaspoons edible flower petals
4 teaspoons fennel seedlings
4 teaspoons purple basil seedlings
4 teaspoons daikon sprouts
4 teaspoons fried shallots

Main 1
Korean Style Skirt Steak
Garlic mushroom, spicy ponzu, mashed potato

AMAZING STEAK ♥ The Skirt steak was chewy but still fairly tender and the korean sauce really brought out the complex flavours of the meat.

Main 2
Caramelized Black Cod
Citrus butter sauce, potato croquette

The cod was very nicely done. Better than the cod I was served at Guu-izakaya, a new Japanese restaurant in Toronto with quite a bit of word of mouth. (I went there a few days ago and the line to get in took over an hour.) The citrus butter sauce complimented the cod perfectly, and was somewhat sweet, not as sweet as Guu's. the Patatoe Croquettes were nothing special. It might be better if it was more strongly flavoured with a more fluffy outer shell. And I wish the cod was bigger... :(

Tong Yuen Sweet Rice Dumpling
Chocolate ganache, shredded coconut, hazelnut, peanut, & sesame seeds (6 pce)

Supposed to be 6 pieces but only got 3... and wasnt anything special... :( Growing up Chinese, I've had a lot of tangyuan in my life, so This didn't really impress me very much. I'm sure it would be great to someone who's trying it for the first time though!

Dessert 2
Molten Chocolate Cake
Chocolate hazelnut crumble, caramelized jackfruit, vanilla bean ice cream

I wish that I had gotten this instead. It was a lot better and more worth it than the tangyuan. The chocolate cake was very nicely done, and the jackfruit inside tasted sweet, crunchy and slightly ginger-y.

Good coffee, with cream and brown sugar crystals.

Overall, I would say it was a very positive experience, food-wise. But we waited more than 40 minutes after we finished our starters to get the mains, and that is just unacceptable for a restaurant of this caliber. The servers were very sweet and helpful, and seemed knowledgeable. My guess is that Susur must not be in Toronto this day (I hear that he will drop in on the customers sometimes if he were) and the kitchen just got messy.... :(

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