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post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
"Susur" is Susur Lee's latest project. For those who are not familiar with the name, he is now consistently rated as Toronto's best chef; some say he's the best in the country or even best in North America. (We'll never know!) He was making fusion food long before the term "fusion" was ever coined. He's the real thing and his education spans the globe.

My husband and I took out a second mortgage to dine in his fine establishment tonight. Worth every penny! Though we both ordered the Tasting Menu, we never had the same dishes. Very classy, not to mention, romantic! We had 6 courses, and Susur insists on going about it backwards: the mandatory amuse, followed by the main, then the smaller courses: the app, the fish course, then soup, then dessert. Sounded a bit crazy until we experienced it, and then it all made sense. How many times have you seen a beautiful aromatic main course come to your table, and you suddently regretted having ordered the bisque?

Before I sink my teeth once agqain into Susur's menu, I would like to point out that it is very clear where Morimoto got his ideas from. His new restaurant looks like a Las Vegas-glitz version of Susur's restaurant. Susur is a square loft-style room, all white with a hint of kitch (respectful of the restaurant's previous incarnation as a cheesy italian joint, complete with velvet art and Colonel Sanders dolls). The recessed lights in the wall gently change colours as the evening progesses, from gentle blues to flattering pinks. (Unlike Morimoto's light show coming from below your behind!)

And now the menu, as best as I can remember.
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 
The amuse was a soy milk arugula mousse, with two glazes: soy and mustard. Topped with a spicy chutney and beet sprouts.

My main was a chili-lime glazed squab confit, served with black olive sauce, parsley and tomato foams, and the most delectable slice of pâté sandwiched between 2 slices of sweet glazed rutabaga. Perfection! It came with a sticky/chewy root veg gnocchi romana (left bland for contrast) and asparagus. The squab, though tender, refused to be sliced with the ‘butter knives’ they gave us, as the skin was quite chewy. A slight oubli on their part I’m sure. The squab heart (looked like a black olive) was scrumptious and served as garnish.

My husband had a fabulous lamb rack, introduced to us as “à la bolognaise”, but which oozed of thai curry flavours; go figure. It came with a potato tomato pave of sorts, and the crispiest, tiniest, creamiest banana fritter I’ve ever tasted.

The next course was a virtual orgy of foie gras (I mean this in the best possible way). My husband got a 18”X4” rectangular plate with 6 variations of foie gras. I can’t begin to remember them all. All I can say is that they were hard to share, and that each was more delectable than the previous. I had a more simple preparation of seared foie gras with fresh scallops, a mushroom/scallop roe mixture, and a sinful black truffle sauce.
Next came the pseudo-app. I had a pork presentation. I’ve always hated sheppard’s pie, but Susur really took that one to the next (no, the one after that) level. On the left of my plate, he served a sort of crunchy savoury ground pork ball, along with a hot gingery piece of Chinese sausage atop a quenelle of potato mash which contained the sweetest (almost sickly sweet) corn I’ve ever tasted, with a ginger pork-jus reduction. In the middle of the plate, a tiny steamed upside down artichoke heart with a provençale filling. On the right the most incredible nugget of med/rare pork tenderloin in a kumquat sauce with a candied kumquat shell. My husband had the roasted lobster with sweet corn, perfect crispy sweetbreads that seem to have been coated in a cinnamon-y spice mixture, and a mildly sweet lentil confit.

And we’re only halfway.

The fish dish. My husband had a cold dish, a ceviche, octopus sashimi, a tempura of some kind (by this time I was too full to taste everything in his plate!). There was a beautiful sea jelly mold with some kind of crab inside; the jelly was flavoured with lemongrass and lime… I think. I had the warm haddock, marinated and glazed, a horseradish clam sauce, fresh morels, and a roasted marinated oyster in a taro(?) ring. A cherry tomato had been blanched for 3 seconds and peeled; the peel was not removed, but gathered up top. It looked like a gooseberry. It was then gently roasted, and the skin turned crispy and the tomato incredibly sweet. A tiny detail but its addition made the dish.

Next the soup course. Husband had an oxtail tapioca soup. Very rich and flavourful and spicy, but despite the small quantity, was simply too rich and heavy so close to the closure of the meal. I had a much lighter soup, a beef consommé so reduced that you could almost feel the gelatin sticking to the roof of your mouth. That’s a good thing in my book! There was a shrimp wonton (which the waitress insisted on calling a ravioli), and fresh thai basil and coriander.

Finally the desserts. While they were of Susur’s caliber in design, I found the execution was underachieving, and it almost seems as though Susur does not pay much attention to what his pastry chef prepares. Nevertheless, they were very enjoyable. My husband had a lemony cheesecake, next to a black berry (or was it blueberry) jelly mold, and a spice cake filled with pineapple. I had the chocolate fanfare (why they brought it to my husband first, I’ll never understand!): an ultra rich but not sweet chocolate moussy-pudding with a blackberry compote and apricot coulis (way too heavy; though I’m not a fan of very sweet desserts, a bit of sugar would have lightened it up). Next to this, a concoction which Isa and Kimmie will understand if I compare it to a Whippet: a passion fruit mousse in a dome shape, dipped in a thin layer of couverture. Finally there was (the star of my dessert plate) a tall skinny metal mold filled with a blackberry gin mousse; it came with it’s own skinny wooden spoon, which itself looked like chocolate. Oddly enough, the taste of the wood mimics the astringency of the blackberries, and the match was not a bad one. They whole experience came to an anticlimax with a mediocre spice biscotti, which was not made better by the decent cup of coffee which followed.

Overall, Susur deserves his stars. I’m glad we went on a Thursday; most of his groupies appear on Friday and Saturday. Susur built his reputation on the details; even his salt shakers contain freshly ground high quality sea salt. The restrooms are whimsical, with fossets coming out of the mirrors and pouring water into a crystalline pink sparkly almost flat glass sink. Cloth hand towels, always a nice touch. (Sorry to dwell; I find restrooms important and highly indicative of so much more)

What more can I say: go if you can, and as often as your wallet permits (another decade for me!! ;))
post #3 of 4
Anneke, that was an amazing description. I especially enjoyed your explanation of the cherry tomato.
"Lightly fried, cooked to perfection."
"Lightly fried, cooked to perfection."
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

thank you

Have you been ?

It's worth the four hour trip...
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