Susur & Rain
My previous two attempts to post a review was met with being pulled away from the computer. So I'll try to type as much as I can remember and time permitting.
Went to Susur a week and a half back. He had a special 8 course truffles tasting menu featuring truffles he brought back from his recent visit to southern France. Service was attentive but not over the top. Wine pairings were okay, nothing worth mentioning.
(the order of dishes may be incorrect)
Warm custard with truffles and tapioca
Seared Bison Loin with mixed veggies wrapped in cabbage, truffle reduction, shaved truffles
Pan Seared foie gras, foie gras custard, mixed herbs topped with goat cheese, grapes.
Sorbet served on baboo and dry ice (very lovely presentation)
Shot glass of lobster bisque, with truffle foam (I think)
Seared scallop in tarragon sauce
Dessert was two dishes served simultaneously - two ice creams (coconut and chocolate I believe) and
Highlights of the meal were a seared bison loin and the foie gras. Bison was cooked to perfection, the cabbage was a perfect accompaniment and the shaved truffles were divine. His seared foie gras was fantastic, again cooked to perfection and the grapes were so flavourful they could be served on their own. His seafood dishes were cooked well but were not very impressive. The menu was far more "French" than fusion, which is fine. My biggest complaint would be that it was difficult to perceive any truffles in many of the dishes. When a chef wants to showcase a particular ingredient as a tasting menu, must there is enough focus on the ingredient to enable the diner to enjoy the flavour but at the same time not overpower the flavour to make one "sick". Tough task, I know, but that's the risk of doing specialized tasting menus.
Also went to Rain a couple of days ago.
Hot pot (Vietnamese pho) - squab broth raw elk
Seared hamachi with cocunut foam
Peeking style pan seared squab, squab dumpling
Wagyu beef and abalone
Gotta run, I'll edit this post later. I will say that Rubino is ON POINT these days. One of the best tasters I've eaten. It was on par with Kaji, sans the sashimi & sushi, or Hashimoto. Okay getting yelled at...gone.
I tried to edit my post but I can't.
To add to my initial post. Rain also served a Black Cod three ways and a dessert was a praline ice cream with garam masala spiced chocolate sauce, a "halwa like" square topped with Paneer, and a lime sorbet. The lime sorbet tasted out of place with the two Indian style desserts. The peeking style pan seared squab was served medium and combined with its stickiness the meat was too chewy. I would have prefered the dish was served rare to medium rare. Wagyu beef was very flavourful, but I think it was a flank cut so it wasn't as well marbled as I anticipated. Overall though the food was very good. I recall my previous experience at Rain being more fusion based compared to this distinctly Asian menu.
PSP - I've only been to Susur 3 times but each time he's been too inconsistent for my tastes. He either hits a homerun with his dish or it's "okay". I've never received a meal where each dish was notably above average. I respect the fact that he changes is tasters weekly but if you're going to charge those prices you better be one of the best in the city. Interesting that you like his desserts, didn't you find his chocolate truffle ball too rich?
JA - Susur's truffles tasting was $160.
my first experience at susur was just a few days/week before the truffle tasting weekend and i found it quite enjoyable.
i chose the regular tasting menu and my companion picked the truffle one. i would say mine was superior as i felt the perigord truffles he used were too subtle. i was surprised at this as i found his ingredient sourcing in each dish to be superb. the only lowpoint was the predominantly asian dish of the wuxi pork and it's rich cloying flavour that didn't have a balance counterpoint in the dish. if i could i would go to susur simply for a dessert tasting. the service was lovely with great suggestions of impressive half bottles of wine but did falter when food runners tried to convince me certain items were not what they were (wintermelon vs. squash).