Dinner At Susur – Fine Dining At Its Best

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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

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This was one of the most creative freebie I ever tasted. Most of it is made from Foe Gras, including a Foe Gras Mousse!

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

Dessert Break

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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

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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.

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Hot Pot with lobster, king crab, mussel, shrimp, Japaneses scallop, in a spicy tarmarind lobster broth. Seafood lovers will find heaven in this dish.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

Susur on Urbanspoon


46 thoughts on “Dinner At Susur – Fine Dining At Its Best”

  1. thesilly1 says:

    I have to get on a tour like that! very nice! And the food looks awesome!

  2. It seems like Canadian’s also have a higher metabolism.

    Yes, I think you should have been fat by now. πŸ˜†

  3. Food does look good, can’t believe I’m 40 minutes away and have never heard of any of these places.

  4. thesilly1 says:

    Quick Correction ….Lynn Crawford was on Iron chef? And she lost to Bobby Flay… So us Canadians are 1-1-1.

  5. wow.. this looks tasty.. you’re soo lucky John :mrgreen:

    1. Matt Jones says:

      The harder you work the luckyer you get!

  6. Shaun Carter says:

    That looks like one fine meal…

  7. Wow, the incomparable Susur Lee — great photo, mouth-watering dishes…awesome awesome review, John. 😎

  8. Kanwal says:

    I have had the privilege to go to both Susur and Lee. Both restaurants are side by side and have uniquely different tastes. But definitely, Susur restaurant, requires about $205-$250 per person and about 2-3 hrs for eating all the courses.

    I went to Susur with a group of 12 of us, and the bill came up to about $2500 incl. one wine bottle.

    Presentation and food cant be beat. Iron Chef? This guy should be named the God of Chefs!

  9. I mentioned this in another post, but if you love Susur’s dishes, you might want to sample the food at North 44 on Yonge and Flow on Yorkville. πŸ˜€

  10. Gdog says:

    I saw his battle on Iron Chef America…Susur rocks. How did you arrange for a tour of the kitchen?

    1. John Chow says:

      I didn’t have to arrange it. Chef Lee offer the tour.

  11. Marc says:

    The presentation of the meal is something else. I’ve been to some decent restaurants where they obviously put a lot of effort into presentation, but this far beyond anything I’ve seen.

  12. Bob Buskirk says:

    damn that bison looks good, never had bison what does it taste like?

    1. It tastes like chicken LOL nah, tastes nothing like it. Actually, bison has the consistency of beef — usually a less tender version of beef.

      1. thesilly1 says:

        Bison is basically a WAY leaner version of beef. Very tasty actually (if you like beef)

        1. Bob Buskirk says:

          nice I might have to try it, hrmm now where do I find a place around here that serves it

  13. dude says:

    dude stop eating so much hahah you’ll get the size of a suma otherwise! 😯

  14. Eye_carl says:

    Ok John, I’m not disrespect to Bobby Flay, but I watched that Iron Chef episode and Suser smoked Bobby Flay. My whole kitchen staff back at work came in the next day feeling the same way, it was poor scoring by the judges, especially in the plating and creativity, not even close.
    Anyway the pics look lovely.

  15. James says:

    3 hours or not-how can you eat that all in one meal?

    1. John Chow says:

      When the food this good, you can’t stop eating!

      1. Matt Jones says:

        You should see how long you can go STILL eating the same meal, I reckon you could do it for a day, if you have enough ridiculously tiny portions πŸ™‚

  16. Simonne says:

    The dishes look great. I’ve never seen salad recipients so cute πŸ˜†

  17. Erwin says:

    John,

    You are making me drool all over my laptop!! Those are heavenly food!!

    That Hot Pot with lobster, king crab, mussel, shrimp, Japaneses scallop, in a spicy tarmarind lobster broth is heaven. I bet you are can taste your own saliva like what I’m doing now. πŸ˜‰

  18. damn that looks like quite a meal. πŸ˜†

    1. The soup looks great. πŸ˜‰
      Beautiful pictures. Thank you. 😎

  19. howd you manage to get a pic with the chef?

    did you bust out the dot com mogul vip card? πŸ˜›

    1. John Chow says:

      You got it backwards. Susur Lee wanted a picture with me! 😈

    2. The idea of John flipping his wallet open to show the top chef a self-made mogul VIP card is just TOO funny! What if John did have a card like it? I just wanna know where I could sign up for one LOL.

  20. thesilly1 says:

    I think he walked in and said, “I’m John Chow, feed me”

  21. Kiltak says:

    “This was the first time I’ve ever tried Bison. I heard it was a tough meat but the Susur version was super tender.”

    Bison is always super tender, and also very lean. Don’t know where you heard that is was tough, but really, it’s not.

  22. G says:

    OK John, so here is the question all Canadian foodies want you to answer: who is the better chef, Feenie or Susur?

    1. John Chow says:

      Man, that is a tough call. Both are French chefs and both have a heavy Asian influence in their cooking. Lee, because he’s Chinese and Feenie, because he’s in Vancouver. Sarah gave the edge to Lee but I think I’ll have to stick with Rob as the Top Canadian chef.

  23. Yumcha Girl says:

    Oh my goodness! That looks far too tantalising! I think a trip to Canada is in order just to go to Susur!

  24. Ed Lau says:

    The plating is stunning…

  25. blogdinero says:

    πŸ˜€
    the ceff says, this is the man of the blog, review my kitchen… iΒ΄ll feed u

  26. That hot pot reminds me a lot of Tom Yam soup, without the lemon grass — looks very tasty, that one. 😎

  27. Amanda says:

    That is some of the most beautiful food I’ve ever seen. I love presentation.

  28. Presentation is a plus, definitely — you have to satisfy the eye before the tummy.

  29. Paul. says:

    I guess you’d need all of those coarses to get a stomach full. Interesting food though.

  30. With fine cuisine, it’s all about presentation, rich and exotic flavors, and paying for a unique dining experience. I think they keep servings small so people can have enough room from everything on the menu. 😎

  31. Russ says:

    Man chow, how much pounds do you think you’re going to put on after this trip? lol jkjk… You’re pretty lucky for meeting some of the top chefs around.

  32. Some friends of mine from Toronto just had dinner at Susur last night. They weren’t able to take a photo with the chef, but they had most of the food featured here; they were beyond delighted. πŸ™‚

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