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Sep 21, 2004 09:53 AM

Lee (Susur's New Place)

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Any reviews or comments on the menu?

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  1. Just had lunch there.
    Sort of a dim sum concept of small dishes to share.
    Sorry, I didn't study the menu too closely, but there's lots of intriguing choices. It felt more laid back and less fussy than next door- just my general impression.
    Also offer 3 "boxes", I had the carmalized black cod with chinese pickles with prawn and chicken satay skewers, singapore slaw and chilled watermelon-apple soup (or something like that).
    Food quality was great, as you would expect. Some intense, fresh, clean flavours. Nice mix of textures too.
    Also had the molten chocolate carmalized banana puree and apricot preserves dessert with some extremely aromatic jasmine tea.
    With tax and tip it was about $50.
    It was their second day open for lunch and there was steady traffic. Still waiting for their liquor license. The room is nice, open, not too big. Funky plexi tables. Service was friendly and efficient.
    Overall, a very nice addition to the neighbourhood. A bit pricey to be going often unless I find a generous benefactor or my numbers come in.

    5 Replies
    1. re: crank

      When will they have their LLBO licence?

      1. re: Jake

        I have heard that Olivia Chow the city counselor for the area is refusing to give out any new liquor licences in the area until spring 2005!

        1. re: Rob

          I called to make a reservation for early October the other day. They told me that they expect to have their licence in the next couple of weeks.

          1. re: marni

            Went for lunch just today. At 1 PM it was filled to capacity but no one waiting for a table.
            Menu is explained as a "dim-sum" style. There's a good variety, with fusion cuisine that's mainly Chinese and Western styles.
            We had the duck confit, the braised beef, mixed vegetables, and the 4 satay. Make note, the entrees are indeed small, they are exactly dim-sum portions, encouraging a mix and try system I guess like JK's Wine Bar. At 10-14 dollars a menu item though, it's not the best value.
            The duck was the best, superb. Chunks of duck in a sweet sauce rolled in a very thin flatbread with goat cheese spread on top. An elevated peking duck. The braised beef was beautifully tender with a good mix of fat and meat, the accompanying potato mash a nice touch. The sauce was somewhat lacking in flavour though. The mixed vegetables were fine, basically a salad of eggplant, tomato, olives in a vingarette. THe 4 satay skewers was the most pedestrian, consisting of shrimp, lamb, beef, and chicken, about two pieces each and with three dipping sauces. The tamarind dipping sauce was particularly good and the lamb was suprisingly tender. The rest of the meats were just a touch dry but that happens with satay skewers.
            Service was excellent, as we were given full attention even though the restaurant was filled to capacity. For lunch, the portions took a bit longe than I'd like, but that will probably improve with time.
            Overall impression is good. Decor is comfortable, service is efficient, and food is superb. A surprisingly good start for such a new restaurant. But it certainly is very expensive. Total bill came to about $60 for two. We hadn't expected portions to be so small and after they came we didn't really have time to order more, it would have prob. come out to more if we had more time.

            1. re: ArtificialButter

              Had lunch there last week.

              By the way they got their liquor license last Monday!!

              I went alone as I happened to be in the area. Had the stuffed chicken wing with chunkiang sauce. The 2 wings are partially deboned and stuffed with sauteed mushrooms. The whole thing is crusted with potato (I'd imagine instant potato flakes, an old Michel Guerard trick), deep fried and sauced with a traditional sour chinese "Chunkiang" sauce. Chin Kiang is a region in southern China. It was outstanding and I would have expected nothing less from Susur.

              I also had the satay plate. 4 skewers of chicken, beef, lamb and shrimp. The skewers are unusually tender (by Toronto standards), almost to the standards of South East Asia i.e. Malaysian street vendors. Great flavors, perfectly cooked. Came with 3 sauces, Chili-Mint Chutney (used next door for garnishes for a while now), a spicy peanut sauce (the best I've had in Toronto), and a tangy tamarind sauce.

              For dessert, a tri-layered panna cotta. For $5 I don't think you'll find a better bargain.

              Meal with tax and tip $40. For these prices I hope he doesn't price his other restaurant out of the market!

              Decor is very funky. Loved the skylight over the bar. Service professional. Food came a bit slow (about 17 minutes after punched into the POS) but came all at once.

              Definitely worth a try. I'm going again for dinner on saturday. Susur's really excited about the new produce that will be coming in this fall. So should we!!

    2. Ate there last night -

      It was possibly the worst service I've had in Toronto.

      It all started off really well - they were extremely accomodating with my gluten allergy and let me know what items i could have. the vibe in there was very lively and susur even came out when we were waiting for our drinks.

      This, however, is when it got bad -

      My girflriends ordered dirty martinis. 20 minutes later, two regular martinis were plopped on our table. We were told that was how we ordered them. A few minutes later, a second waitress arrived to tell us they were out of olive juice so that's why they weren't dirty. The drinks were removed. And returned 5 minutes later with olive juice in them. Apparently there were olives in the restaurant.

      Despite this mix up, we had a fabulous tasting menu of the pineapple avocado salad (unbelievable flavours!), the tofu, the tarot cakes, and the chinese greens. we had ordered the scallop as our only shared main.

      And then -

      We waited 30 minutes between having our other dishes arrive and consumed before asking where our main was - we were told they were busy and it was coming right up. 10 minutes later, we asked again - we were told our waitress didn't know what the hold up was and would go inquire. she returned to say it was just being "put up". 10 minutes after that, we were pretty irritated. She returned to say it was "just being put up". Um - you said that 10 minutes ago... it's a scallop. it takes approximately 1 minute to cook and probably a few more to plate...

      we asked the waitress if the food was even coming - she got very defensive, did not apologize, and told us that because our order came in late (What?), it was now behind all the other orderes in the restaurant.

      i think we can all agree that that is crazy - we asked her why it wasn't being made "on the fly" - she did not reply. instead, she got more defensive and walked away.

      needless to say, our shared "main" arrived an entire hour after our appetizers. our waitress got someone else to deliver it. she then came by 10 minutes later to ask if we wanted dessert. no. coffee? no. anything else? no. then she quickly apologized as she handed us our bill. it was definitely a cry for a tip.

      despite the great food, we won't be going back - there are enough "it" restaurants in toronto so we don't have to put up with the ones that think the customer always comes last.

      3 Replies
      1. re: acanadianrose

        Not at all surprise! Susur's establishments are well known for their lousy service! Be it the old Lotus, Susur or Lee!

        1. re: acanadianrose

          Sadly, this type of unskilled service is quite typical of many if not most Toronto eateries. It really irks me when the server resorts to lying and accuses the customer of having made the error, and also annoys the hell out me when you are strung along when you ask about serious delays in getting your food from the kitchen. Having the emotional maturity and problem solving skills of a toddler is a sure way to ruin my meal and consequently a decent tip. And don't even think about disappearing throughout the service when I repeatedly point out that my meal is MIA and then only reappear when dropping off the bill. I am remarkably forgiving if a genuine and plausible explanation is offered (E.g. the kitchen got slammed) with a sincere apology. Owners, please stop hiring servers with no people skills!!!!!! Toronto diners put up with way too much.....

          1. re: tuttebene

            Couldn't agree more. This is not a shot against Susur Lee, but rather a salute to places that make their guests feel as though they are treasured - and in a genuine way, not the phoney Keg way (Hi, I'm Randy and I'll be your "personal dining attendant" for this evening....or whatever SirCorp trains them to parrot these days).
            For the Susur money, I'd rather have great food, comfortable seats and professional service at reliable places such as Chiado, Frank's Kitchen, Scaramouch and Zucca!

            864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

            601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

            2150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A8, CA

            Frank's Kitchen
            588 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B2, CA

        2. Service was great.
          Slaw was absolutely fantastic, and made the meal
          Braised beef was tasty, but not remarkable
          Duck was okay, but candied walnuts on top ruined the eating experience - too many textures.
          Wine was awful.
          Soup was okay.

          Value was questionable. Slaw was amazing.

          Oh, and the heating/air conditioning was crazy - went from shivering to sweating to shivering to sweating to shivering. (you get the idea). I'd suggest avoiding the tables against the wall.

          1. Anyone been here in the last month or so? I'm curious. Went to Susur 3 years ago, was never sold on the concept of expensive/glorified fancy dim sum, etc.

            3 Replies
            1. re: charxchar

              I finally went to Lee last week for an Anniversary dinner. I'm not really the type of person to go to the well known spots my parents have heard of, but I just had to try it after all the "you haven't been to Lee?" comments. I really should learn that most people have bad taste or average taste I guess!!

              Overall, it was quite good and I was impressed with the unique aspects of the dishes. Very interesting combinations of ingredients. The most famous Asian Slaw surprisingly lives up to it's reputation as a very exciting and flavourful dish that has something like 17 ingredients (we asked for ours without Cilantro, so it might have 18!). We also had the braised beef and miso cod - both were really tasty, but I wasn't blown away by either.

              I felt like I was eating in a place that was hot 4 years ago and judging by the office party crowd, I think this place has lost it's edge and is going the route of Nobu (don't change the formula and the Bridge and Tunnel Crowd will keep coming).

              I'll say the Mojito's were great - raw brown sugar at the bottom and at 10.00 each, not that overpriced.

              I'd go back, but it would be way down on the list....enjoy.

              1. re: kosherdill

                Am I the only one who thinks the Asian Slaw tastes like cold pad thai? Not that this is a bad thing.

                1. re: dubchild

                  I disagree absolutely.
                  Love the 'crunch' in the slaw. Pad Thai rarely has crunch, although occasionally the beansprouts can help if added right at end.

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