Lucien - Anyone?
Lucien recieved two great reviews over the weekend. Has any fellow CH given it a try? Do they have a tasting menu with wine pairing?
I saw two decent reviews this weekend, too. I believe it was probably these:
I posted a (perhaps slightly premature) query about Lucien a few weeks back and got some responses. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/448508
And their full website is now active, with menu: http://www.lucienrestaurant.com
We were at Lucien this week.
The Chanterelle consomme was intriguing, and I appreciated all of the elements involved.
Hubby loved it, but I was less enchanted.
I had the pork belly, squid, etc. comb app., lightly spiced, and quite good.
Our friend had the sushi pizza, she said that it was excellent, but the portion was too small for us to request a taste.
The mains, S had the duck, and thought it very good.
I had the chicken, breast crisped topping, and quite tender, with a roulade of leg , and many small interesting tastes, as with all of their dishes.
Our guest had the monkfish, and also very pleased.
We three shared the apple fritter dessert, and it too was very good.
I cannot even think about the amount of time required to finish each plate with the tease of flavours on each plate.
Overall it was an excellent meal, and Simon was at every table greeting guests, and inquiring as to the enjoyment of the dishes.
Only drawback (for me) but not for most was the noise level.
We were fortunate, as there are three tables, a little away from the bar, on a platform facing the kitchen, a little quieter than the rest of the place, and were able to be seated there.
I do suggest asking for seating in this section.
I don't like too much distraction from serious food, and pleasant conversation.
It wouldn't stop me from returning, , but I would have been happier without the music, and din.
My wife and I had dinner at Lucien this past Saturday and we enjoyed it immensely. Before any remarks about the food I have to say that Simon is one of the most gracious hosts I have encountered. We walked in at 8 PM, without a reservation and he and his staff did everything the could to accomodate us. They seated us at the bar and when two better seats (more central rather than facing the pillar and espresso machine) became available the two bartenders moved our coats, set-ups and dishes down before seating us again.
The food was well executed, flavors were clear and complex and the presentation was well done - no squeeze bottle wizardry in evidence. I had the pumpkin tart which was excellent and my wife had the chanterelle consomme - the broth was excellent and the mushrooms were well prepared. We then had the duck ramen (the duck was prepared spot on and the ramen broth, mushrooms and noodles were cooked perfectly) and the "fried" chicken. For dessert we shared the Catalan creme brulee with spiced grapes - a light, creamy, sweet finish to an excellent meal.
If there were any opportunities for improvement I would hope the wine list continues to grow in terms of the choice though I commend the restaurant for selecting sane price points. Also, if the pace of service the night we were there is typical, I'd characterize it as leisurely. Nearly 40 minutes elapsed between appetizer and main and we were not alone - many dinners in the room were waiting for their entrees. Its a partially open kitchen and we could see that it wasn't in the weeds and there wasn't a line up at the door so I can only guess that this is a typical approach.
However, given the food and the pleasant reception we received from Simon and his staff we would definitely return.
Just connecting this thread to a place link -
36 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON M5E1C7, CA
I had the opprotunity to dine at Lucien tonight. It was rather busy for a Thursday evening and the dining room produced a nice vibe. The 3 of us each ordered different firsts, mains and desserts. Everything was well executed and we enjoyed every course. The service was attentive and I plan to definitely return in the near future.
http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/52... - Foie Gras Ravioli
http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/35... - Sushi Pizza
http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/54... - Berkshire Pork Belly
http://img251.imageshack.us/img251/64... - Milk Fed Lamb Loin
http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/69... - Red Deer
http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/94... - Beef Tenderloin
http://img206.imageshack.us/img206/50... - Indian Spiced Monkfish
http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/80... - House Made Ice Cream Bars
http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/19... - Warm Ontario Apple Fritters
http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/26... - Creme Catalan
Went to Lucien last night for the first time. I've been keen to check it out since it opened. One question.... What is the fuss????? Am I missing something? Sure the food is creative, but it's also over-priced, the portions are small and pretentious - it's very 80's. My fish was funky, and I don't mean it had rhythm, very disappointed with the apple fritters, and they were definitely tight with the wine serving. It's clear to me that they are there to impress the downtown suits with big expense accounts. Given the choice to go, for a free meal at Lucien again or to go to Chinatown, I'd choose Chinatown. This is a business, not a restaurant.
I'm generally one who enjoys a $7 bowl of rare beef pho over a $30 plate of molecular gastro foam, even if I'm not paying. However I have to say I was quite pleased with my recent experience here. Simon Bower was the consumate host - knowlegable and a pleasure to speak with even though I was definitely not one of his "money" covers that night he took plenty of time to speak with me about the food, his recommendations, and pairings (was even comp'd a glass) the food (particularly the pickerel with chickpeas) was exceedingly well executed and not overwrought, and the atmosphere relaxing. You can tell he takes great pride in what he does, and it shows throughout the whole of the restaurant. Sure it might have the potential to be viewed as a tad pretentious (the bartender was doing her best "pretty vacant" impression), but on my night I left feeling quite well taken care of. And to the poster previous to me - any restaurateur who does not view his establishment as a business is not one for long - don't kid yourself.
Thanks for the friendly and delightful debate CriolloLover - I respect your comments, as you sound like you know what you're talking about. You've given me some "food for thought" and a general awareness that I'd better be careful with my future commentary, for fear they be misinterpreted.
It's also nice that you paid attention to the details of what I wrote - makes me appreciate that listening truly is a sign of "respect" ... and I'm not being sarcastic. I never thought Chowhound would also be an educational experience for me.
My only real retort is that I wish I felt differently about Lucien. I really wanted to love it, but I didn't. Every great dining experience I have now is about "soul"... Like the Argentinian family restaurant I went to in Vegas where the grandmother was in the back, hand-making the best empanadas I've ever tasted in a delicate pastry, or even King Palace on Dupont, where the cab drivers go 24/7 for cheap and cheerful Indian... I guess my dining experiences are in a different place these days... I know it's a business... and no doubt that Simon is a great and gracioius host (hey, I didn't get a free glass of wine...), I also had to chuckle at your comments about "gastro foam" and the barmaid - I think we had the same one.
Keep in touch. I'd be interested in hearing about your favourite "joints"...