Susur Lee and John Chow
Susur Lee is only the second Canadian chef to ever go up against an Iron Chef. In his battle with Bobby Flay, Susur Lee showed that Canadian chefs are among the best in the world. When the final verdict was given, the judges couldn’t decide which chef was better and declared the contest a tie. A win like what Rob Feenie pulled off would have been nice but a tie means no Canadian chef has ever lost in Iron Chef America.
Susur opened its doors at 601 King Street West in downtown Toronto in 2000 and quickly earned the prestigious position of one of the top 50 restaurants in the world by Restaurant Magazine. Visitors to Susur should be prepared for innovative cuisine, detailed presentation and outstanding service.
Unlike other restaurants, Susur’s tasting menus are served in reverse so the meal diminishes in both size and weight from the principal course. On a table for two, neither diner is served the same thing, demonstrating 12 different dishes throughout the progress of the meal. Wine pairing (six glasses) is available for an extra $81.
The Complementary Openers
This was one of the most creative freebie I ever tasted. Most of it is made from Foe Gras, including a Foe Gras Mousse!
The free bread at Susur is nothing like a normal restaurant. I forgot the name of the spreads but they were delicious.
The Meat Tasting
Smoked Bison strip loin with artichoke provencale, salsify sun choke gratin and barbecue sauce. This was the first time I’ve ever tried Bison. I heard it was a tough meat but the Susur version was super tender.
Roasted Venison Loin with Confit potato and Pancetta, young turnip and Reggiano sauce with pine nuts. Venison is not something I eat often but I may have to change that in the future.
The Foie Gras Tasting
Seared Foie Gras with Currant Compote. Brioche Foie Gras Torchon. Rosemary Tuile and Foie Gras Mousse. All I can say is Foie Gras is good grub. If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out!
Seared Foie Gras with duck prosciutto on an apple tart. Foie Gras Flan. I have never seen a chef get so creative with Foie Gras as Susur Lee. Sarah said this was the best Foie Gras she ever had. I would have to agree with her.
The Kitchen Tour
After the Foie Gras dishes, we took a little break and got a tour of the kitchen and talk a bit with Chef Lee. Given the relatively small size of Susur (it seats about 60), Chef Lee employs a lot of people in the kitchen. It was fascinating watching how an operation like Susur runs.
After the kitchen tour we were treated to a Guava Sorbet with mango in pineapple lemongrass juice. This would help cleanse the palate to prepare it for the seafood tasting.
The Seafood Tasting
Crispy curry soft shell crab, Campari tomato and King Crab salad with orange Chipotle dressing. The shell of the crab is so soft you can eat it. The crab salad was awesome.
Hot Pot with lobster, king crab, mussel, shrimp, Japaneses scallop, in a spicy tarmarind lobster broth. Seafood lovers will find heaven in this dish.
Caramelized Black Cod, preserved lemon, black olive oil and spinach flan with Ricotta. I don’t know what technique is used to caramelized a cod and yet keep it so tender. This was Sarah’s favorite dish.
Sashimi of tuna, charred Vidalia onion, chervil and confetti salad, Yuzu with calamanci glaze. This was the most amazing tuna dish I’ve ever had.
The Salad Ending
Four way salad – pear with parmesan, Arugula, artichoke and brazed endive. If you thought you would get a simple green salad at Susur, you’ll be sadly mistaken. Each salad had their own unique taste yet complemented each other.
Portobello mushroom, Rhubarb celery and strawberry, black fig vinegar with blue cheese. I really liked this salad. The blue cheese and the mushroom went really well together.
I would like to thank Chef Susur Lee for showing us his restaurant. I can see why he’s among the best in the world. Dinner at Susur lasted three hours from start to finished. I recommend you go with someone you really enjoy talking to. Dinner for two with one wine pairing came to $400 with tips. It’s a good thing I didn’t take the entire family along!