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Lee Lounge - Any initial comments?

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Apprentice Feb 24, 2011 11:50 AM

Curious what the first time reviews are, if any? I'm assuming nobody has been twice yet.

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Lee Lounge
601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M5, CA

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    dubchild RE: Apprentice Feb 24, 2011 06:19 PM

    At one point Susur said he might be doing tasting menus again, then he said it was going to act as a holding area for Lee. From the window when they were closed it doesn't look like much more than (deep breath) a lounge.

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    Susur
    601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

    1. t
      tasoid RE: Apprentice Feb 24, 2011 07:20 PM

      The lounge has a seperate menu from Lee. I have only been for drinks and was too busy drinking to look at the new menu... LOL

      I

      10 Replies
      1. re: tasoid
        estufarian RE: tasoid Feb 25, 2011 06:25 AM

        It didn't have a new menu when I was there! It was identical to the Lee menu. There have been some updates since last year (a few new dishes added and the Singapore Slaw has morphed somewhat - but I recall reading somewhere that it changes seasonally anyway, depending on what ingredients are available 'locally').
        Certainly a whole range of new 'cocktails'. And service was, to put it mildly, erratic. But I guess there have been a bunch of new hires, so I'll cut them some slack there.

        When I made the reservation, I asked whether the menu was different from Lee - and was told "the Lounge menu hasn't been decided yet". So perhaps they opened with the familiar menu just to get people through the door.
        I'm pretty sure I don't fit their target demographic though. Servers who are distracted when repeating a rote introduction to the point that they're facing away from you during the 'presentation' do not inspire confidence. I don't care how handsome/pretty they are.

        1. re: estufarian
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          Apprentice RE: estufarian Feb 25, 2011 07:22 AM

          Not a favourable review, from one of Susur's biggest supporters. Was the food up to "standard"?

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          Susur
          601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

          1. re: Apprentice
            estufarian RE: Apprentice Feb 25, 2011 09:43 AM

            I calls 'em as I sees 'em.
            Food was actually better than my previous visit. Typically I used to go every 2-3 months, but this was first time in about 8 months.

            I'll wait for others to review and then decide. The service was the bigger problem, so if they DO introduce a specific Lounge Menu I will give it a try (based on my history with Susur) - but I won't rush back.

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            Susur
            601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

          2. re: estufarian
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            pearlD RE: estufarian Feb 25, 2011 07:30 AM

            "estufarian"......re Servers....at ANY restaurant I couldn't agree more... too many times & too many restaurant servers share the same attitude..and I am probably in a 'worse demographic' than you so the service for the most part is even worse EXCEPT in the U.S.A. (as a generalization).. even IHOP/Denny's... I 'feel' like I matter...rarely does this happen in Toronto.......and 'sometimes' it IS the Restaurant 'tho not always....shame, it doesn't lead me to revisiting no matter how good the Food....

            1. re: pearlD
              estufarian RE: pearlD Feb 25, 2011 09:50 AM

              The only saving grace was that service 'attitude' actually improved from my previous Lee visit.

              After I 'attempted' to (relatively gently I thought) improve the 'communication' I did receive a visit from a more senior floorperson (tiptoeing here) who gave an insincere apology! (I didn't want or expect any 'freebies').
              The servers were 'mostly enthusiastic' but either poorly trained or standards are slipping.

              I contrast this with, for example, Fabbricca (which actually had better food, albeit at much higher prices) where the service at all stages was both incompetent and ingratiating, with servers wearing ladles of perfume/aftershave - a pet peeve of mine. There I won't return!

              1. re: estufarian
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                tasoid RE: estufarian Feb 25, 2011 02:58 PM

                They definately had a seperate menu last Saturday. I saw a few items being served that are not on the regular Lee menu. The couple beside me at the bar ordered Hamburger Spring Rolls and Hunan Chicken Wings. I'll pop in again tonight and update the menu info.

                1. re: tasoid
                  estufarian RE: tasoid Feb 26, 2011 07:22 AM

                  I was there on the Wednesday.
                  Would appreciate any feedback on the 'new' items.

                  And Herb - I assume they're not really 'tapas' but just different 'small plates' from the ones in Lee!

            2. re: estufarian
              Herb RE: estufarian Feb 26, 2011 04:29 AM

              There are two menus, the old familiar Lee menu that's available in both rooms and the new tapas menu that's only available in the Lounge.

              1. re: estufarian
                estufarian RE: estufarian Mar 9, 2011 05:30 AM

                Just read the 'Now' review of Lee Lounge - Steven Davey was there the evening BEFORE me - and got the 'Bites' menu. I didn't get that the following day!. Revisiting my comments above maybe I should re-emphasize the 'erratic service' comment.
                I used to be a regular at Lee (visiting maybe monthly) until the precipitous decline in service part way through last year. At least this time, the servers were enthusiastic, albeit incompetent.
                And now it seems that incompetence includes failing to deliver a menu!

                PS - I still have never had a tapa at Lee (or Lee Lounge), although Now tells me I can have a complete tapas meal there.

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                Lee Lounge
                601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M5, CA

                1. re: estufarian
                  jlunar RE: estufarian Mar 9, 2011 06:18 AM

                  Hmn... armed with knowledge for my future visit... I'll let you know what I get.

            3. s
              siki2 RE: Apprentice Mar 10, 2011 10:11 AM

              Went to Lee last night. We expected that we would be in the lounge, but were seated in the restaurant. The restaurant was full, the lounge a little less than half full by 7pm. Asked about the lounge menu, the server confirmed that there are two menus, and invited us to go the lounge post dinner to try the lounge menu. They would not serve the lounge menu in the restaurant. The food was with one exception, incredible. I can't recommend enough the duck special - roast or BBQ duck 2 ways served Peking duck style with pancakes, hoisin, onion, cucumber. But it also was served with foi gras, persimmon and some other red pickled vegetable, andd crispy tofu skin. It was like Peking duck for grownups - all of the things I like best about Peking duck - the richness, the crispness of the skin, but with more. The French and Chinese tong yuen was the best fusion style desseret I have eveer had. 5 glutinous rice dumplings stuffed with not very sweet chocolate ganache and coconut, with a light cream sauce. It was essentially Mochi for an adult palate.

              I was not impressed with the pork loin special- it was very General Tao chicken -like. 4 pieces of overcooked pork loin, battered, fried, and coated with an orangey slightly spicy very sweet sauce with pieces of pineapple. It was not at all like the rest of Susur's cooking. No complexity, few ingredients and no fusion of French and Asian.

              Service was friendly, attentive, and paced properly. Our server Kenji even remembered accurately what wine we had chosen on our last dinner at Lee probably 3 months ago. He was passionate about the ingredients and the flavors far beyond what I am used to seeing in serving staff.

              We will make sure to specify the lounge next time and will report back.

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              Susur
              601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

              3 Replies
              1. re: siki2
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                gogomiser RE: siki2 Apr 18, 2011 09:14 AM

                If I want to go with 4 pp for some drinks and snacks around 5pm this sat do you think I need a reservation? Don't plan on eating a full meal there.

                1. re: gogomiser
                  Herb RE: gogomiser Apr 19, 2011 05:04 AM

                  I don't think it opens till 5:30. I'd still get a reservation just in case and specify you want the Lounge and the Lounge menu if that's what you're after.

                  1. re: Herb
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                    gogomiser RE: Herb Apr 19, 2011 06:21 AM

                    Thanks Herb!

              2. justsayn RE: Apprentice Apr 19, 2011 10:51 AM

                The food is truly as great as always but the expansion ended up being a complete cop out. All Susur did really was add more tables instead of the promised new concept for the second restaurant. He put in a bar and some couches along with a bite menu exclusive to that small section. I don't blame him mind you. Lee is a great success. BUT, if this is all we get from him right now I think he should at least add some hot new items to the getting old menu! FAST!

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                Susur
                601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                5 Replies
                1. re: justsayn
                  Herb RE: justsayn Apr 19, 2011 12:21 PM

                  The Lounge menu looked at least 70% new to me. He's been doing those cheeseburger spring rolls for a couple of years.

                  1. re: Herb
                    justsayn RE: Herb Apr 19, 2011 08:42 PM

                    The lounge menu IS new! But you need to sit on a couch to eat it. Otherwise the existing restaurant simply had its seating expanded with the same getting old now menu!

                    1. re: justsayn
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                      gogomiser RE: justsayn Apr 20, 2011 08:10 AM

                      Good to know justsayn thanks!!

                      1. re: gogomiser
                        justsayn RE: gogomiser Apr 20, 2011 02:49 PM

                        NP. To be clear, you can also sit on a stool at the new bar for the bites menu.

                        1. re: justsayn
                          jlunar RE: justsayn Apr 20, 2011 03:00 PM

                          Yep, I did that several weeks ago. Just to back you up :)

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