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Apr 29, 2008 08:10 AM

Susur "Best of" Menu

Any comments from those who've dined?

I have a reservation in a few weeks.

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    1. re: estufarian

      Excellent, I'm interested to read your comments.

      1. I haven't, but a friend (and former successful restaurateur if that means anything) did last week. During his 3 hour dinner he was served course after fantastic course. He enjoyed every single one. Despite the incredible number of dishes didn't feel uncomfortably overfed. Rather, he left satisfied. Service was impeccable. All in all, I'd say his experience was flawless. Enjoy!

        1. I ate there last night. It was my first time at Susur. A special treat was since they were a little late opening the doors (we had the first sitting at 6pm) they let us hang out at the bar at Lee. We'd scarecely sat down when they took us through the joint kitchens (to avoid the rain). It was cool to see how things were being prepared, and having Mr. Lee himself wish us a good evening.

          We first got bread with three yummy spreads, a ricotta pesto, a white roasted bean dip, and a tomato dip (my favorite). Then an amuse bouche - an oyster with some lovely flavour (I don't normally like oyster but this was good!) and a fried cod cake which was sitting in a delicious tartar sauce.

          Next was our mains. I got coffee marinated lamb with polenta and eggplant (three of my favorite things) and my husband had rare bison with some vegetable (can't remember). We both tasted our respective eats and both enjoyed our own plates.

          Up next was foie gras - mine came with a dried pineapple that tasted a little funny but a delicious banana brulee bite. My husband got mango tart with his (to die for!) and a fresh mango stack. I am not a fan of foi gras but this ws pretty good, though we both agreed we enjoyed the sides better.

          then we had the vegetable course. white asparagus with peas, morell and enoki mushrooms, and blue cheese sauce served with a parmesean crisp. This was my favorite!

          then came a sorbet to clense the palate. The presentation with dry ice of the strawberry sorbet was fantastic! underneath the sorbet were fresh strawberries in balsamic. very yummy.

          next was fried calamari with mayo and a little squid ink served with a small frisee salad. It sat in a pepper sauce that had a kick! My husband is allergic to calamari so they brought him a gigantic sea scalop with a chorizo sauce. All the other diners were looking on lady said "next time I'll tell them I'm allergic to calamari!".

          then our fish - halibut with a brown rice crust. I thought mine was a little dry but my husband's was beautiful. He lucked out and got a vegetable goat cheese tart with it and I got stuck with a stalk of asparagus :(

          Then the dessert! This was my favorite. A whole little tray of decadent sweets....there was a mini key lime pie, a chocolate tart, a FANTASTIC panna cotta topped with black sesame sauce, a pineapple - jackfruit strudle, a blueberry chocolate "shooter", a chocolate expresso cake, an apple tatin with lemon creme, a chocolate caramel pot du creme served in an egg shell, and some kind of pudding with chestnut sauce.

          Expensive? Totally. But it was a once in a lifetime meal (for us) and it was great.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Mintycake

            Thanks for the recap, I'm really looking forward to this when I go later this month!

            1. re: Mintycake

              We had similar dishes. What I found I enjoyed most are the two foie gras courses. The foie gras are nicely seared with delicious sides, agree with Mintycake on the roasted mango tart and puree, taste and smell are both amazing ! The chocolate reduction and the pineapple saffron glaze go really well with foie gras and made both dishes taste so interesting and rich.

              However, the fish course (Pan roasted Halibut) and the seafood course (Calamari and giant scallop) are a bit disappointed for me. The mayonnasise and salad on the oversize "onion ring like" fried calamari is quite boring, eventhough the calamari is very tender. Agree completely with Mintycake on the halibut, the one with black truffle sauce is good but the other one is overcooked and dry.

              All dishes are beautifully presented as usual, service are excellent. Overall we had a good night and enjoy ourselves.

              1. re: Mintycake

                Excellent write-up (and saved me a lot of typing). Our menu was slightly different and I can add a little to some of your descriptions (I had your review with me so knew what to listen for).
                The third dip with the bread was a ‘tomato jam with mustard seed’ – and was indeed the best of the three.
                The oyster was a ‘Glacier Bay Oyster with aged sherry, gherkin vinaigrette, cod cake and vegetable tartare’ (and was indeed very tasty – although less ‘briny’ than most I’ve had).
                For the main there was an alternate course “Roasted Organic Strip Loin in a Lobster/Uni Bisque Sauce with Provencal vegetables”. This initially caused consternation (I had the menu a few hours in advance to plan the wine matchings) but the realization was far more integrated than the title. The saltiness of the uni acted almost as a seasoning for the beef and this was one of my favourite courses.
                As Skyline 33 has pointed out, the ‘mango foie gras’ featured a Chocolate foie-gras reduction.
                Our veggie course also included oyster mushrooms and some sautéed apple – agree an excellent course.
                On the scallop vs calamari option I come down firmly on the side of the calamari!
                The scallop was good – served with a ‘puffball potato chip’ orange/red pepper compote, a chorizo and corn sauce – but there seemed to be some orange zest in there that overpowered the scallop. The calamari was excellent. The crispness of the salad and shoots; sweetness of the onions; heat from a chipotle sauce; and acid from citrus segments together with the crisp ‘batter’ and ‘al dente’ calamari made a symphony of flavours in my mouth.
                And the halibut was a ‘relative’ disappointment – although still good. Just didn’t seem to ‘zing’ after the brightness of some of the previous courses. The truffle sauce was fine (but not explosively so) and the sunchoke and mustard salad just seemed lost.

                As for the desserts – this was my only disappointment. Obviously, with about a dozen small pieces (a dessert dim sum) there was a huge array of flavours, many of which were pure and/or refreshing. However, it just seemed like a large selection – rather than a thoughtful assembly of desserts with a theme. I would have preferred something more ‘choreographed’ e.g. “three flavours of citrus” or “four preparations of apple” or “a selection of single bean chocolates” – something that showed a creative approach that defines ‘Susur’. It just seemed to be ‘volume, volume, volume’ to me (although everything did taste good).

                If you have a reservation – congratulations. If you have a better meal in Toronto this year, then you are doubly blessed!

                1. re: estufarian

                  Striploin in a lobster/UNI bisque sauce? Is there anyone else in the world that would even think of that? Bravo. Now I have to see if I can source Uni for my home kitchen.

                  1. re: Googs

                    i had a lobster in a uni sauce at Alex restaurant in Las Vegas. not sure if it is a similar sauce here. You can buy uni frozen from J-Town, or at Diana's, I've also gotten fresh uni from Diana's - getting them out of their shells and cleaning them was a bit of a pain, but they were tasty!

                  2. re: estufarian

                    I went there for my birthday last night, but was a bit disappointed to hear that Susur was out in NYC (probably attending to new restaurant business). I can't help but wonder if this is going to be the norm until his restaurant closes its doors at the end of the month. There were two tasting menus, my boyfriend and I got a different menu but we shared our food (thought the waiter would have something to say about it, but he was totally cool with it).
                    The amuse bouche: The oyster was served with a cleared gazpacho this time. The gazpacho certainly had some heat but I thought the flavours were very well-rounded and certainly something I wouldn't mind having during the summer. As for the oyster, in my opinion the vinaigrette overpowered the oyster slightly.
                    The main course: The striploin was in a berry sauce of sorts (excuse my inability to remember the details - I have to say that a few of the waiters had really strong accents and I found myself relying on my tastebuds to figure out the ingredient in a few dishes), but my boyfriend and I agreed that the meat was superbly done. The other dish was lamb served with a black olive sauce - also very good but a very "lamb-y" for lack of a better word.
                    The foie gras: My favourite! Although I'm very very partial to foie gras. It was very nicely seared (and the foie gras had very little "liver" taste - very nice). My mango tart-accompanied version actually came with a vanilla sauce (as opposed to a chocolate) but it married well together. My boyfriend's marsala foie gras was good too, but what I really enjoyed was the duck cannoli with a mild goat cheese (a welcome change from other stronger goat cheeses).
                    The vegetable course: The white asapargus with morel mushroom in a gorgonzola sauce was served as mentioned before. I had a massive beefsteak tomato served over a pesto, with a parmesan mousse, dried figs and basil leaves.
                    The shellfish course: I got a soft shell crab version instead but that was REALLY GOOD. Can't say I have the same sentiment for the scallop dish though...although it wasn't bad.
                    The fish course: I'm happy to say that both the black cod and the halibut were not overdone - both were perfectly moist. My only complaint was the cod was slightly too salty, but my boyfriend didn't think so. The halibut was served with a black pepper sauce.

                    I am a fan of French pastries and Asian sweets, and the "sweet dim sum" were alI tasty (although too many of them!). However, I have to agree with estufarian, because I too am partial to "choreographed" desserts. (One example of a really well choreographed dessert was something I had at Perigee although unfortunately the dish has escaped my memory for now).

                    1. re: gijoeanne

                      You saved me from typing!

                      I was served a shrimp with the gazpacho and it was indeed wonderful perfect balance of spice, sweetness and herbs.

                      I found the striploin rather bland. I loved the lamb exactly for the reason that you did not like it. I felt it was perfect on it's own it didn't need any sauce to accompany it.

                      The mango tart tasted really good, but didn't seem to blend with foie gras IMO. Almost as if they just threw something tasty on the plate without much coordination of the flavours.

                      Our asparugus dish was served with a blue cheese sauce. I enjoyed the dish but found it very rich (more on that later). The beefsteak tomato could have been served without the pesto - a useless addition IMO especially since it was served as a spread for the bread.

                      I was very surprised by the heavy Mediterranean influence of the dishes. IMO there was too much cheese throughout the meal. By the time I was served the fish course, especially the black cod (a personal fav) the “butteriness” of the fish was overwhelming. My stomach couldn't handle anymore rich flavours.

                      Same opinion on dessert.

                      1. re: gijoeanne

                        I can't decide if my favourite was the scallop sashimi with the wasabi mousse or the soft shell crab tempura, they were both fantastic. I regret not asking for a 2nd order now!

                    2. re: Mintycake

                      If you don't mind me asking, just how expensive?

                      1. re: LTL

                        $140/pp not incl wine, tax or tip. There is a $73 supplement for wine.

                    3. Thanks to all for posting. I just called and made a reservation for a celebratory dinner later this month - they still have some open spots still. I debated between treating myself to this dinner or the James Beard one (there was a post about it earlier but it's disappeared) as I LOVED the James Beard dinner at Sen5es from a few years ago. I hope I made the right decision - or maybe there's no wrong decision betwen these wonderful options - either way, I can't wait!!

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: peppermint pate

                        The Beard dinner is at the Drake Hotel on Wed May 21. I tried to link but their site seems to be down right now. But you can see the details here:
                        I was also at the Sen$es dinner a few years back! I enjoyed it too - but there were some patchy performances. My favourite dish was the 'Lamb with Chili-Mint Chutney' from Susur - I'd hoped his greatest hits menu would have included that dish - but it wasn't there on the night I went.
                        Looking at the participants at the Drake, I think Susur is the right choice (I'm guessing the all-in costs are similar). I've been disappointed with many of the participating chefs and have had patchy experiences with the wineries.

                        1. re: estufarian

                          Agree that Susur's lamb dish AND the Thomas Haas desserts (talk about themed!!) were the highlights from the last James Beard dinner. I'm sure this year's will be fun and flavourful as well but I'm psyched for my Susur experience.

                          Since those who have posted seem to have had at least some dishes in common, I'd be happy to hear any rec's for inspired (and hopefully not obscenely priced) wine pairings that you enjoyed for specific dishes. Thanks.

                          1. re: peppermint pate

                            Ah yes excellent question! I struggle to pair wines at Susur and am tempted to go the cocktail, mixed drink route.

                            1. re: Apprentice

                              not sure if you've asked for it before, but be warned that an aperatif might be difficult to come by at susur.

                              asked for one to start our meal but the maitre'd told us there were none to be had! or that they had simply just sat around so long they weren't worth having. ended up with glasses of champagne

                            2. re: peppermint pate

                              We took our own wine (and paid the corkage) so really can't help you there. When I order from the winelist I usually have an Alsace Gewurztraminer or Riesling or the Sato No Homare (Pride Of The Village) Sake.

                              And yes - the Thomas Haas desserts were the other highlight. And the Sunday dim sum brunch was also amazing.