Madeline’s massive make-over: name changes, construction and the return of Susur Lee
Don’t panic at the sight of shuttered windows at Madeline’s. The place closed on April 10 but will re-emerge in early June as Susur Lee’s next Toronto restaurant.
Brenda Bent, Lee’s wife and the person in charge of redoing Madeline’s space, tells us that after Dominic Amaral’s departure last year to become head chef at Zucca Trattoria, it was time to give the place an update—especially since her husband will be cooking in Toronto more often now. Lee’s contracts say that he has to check up on Shang (in New York) only three times a month, Zentan (in Washington) three times every two months and Chinois (in Singapore) about four times a year.
“Madeline’s was more suited to Dominic’s cooking,” says Bent. “Susur wants to do more private dinners like what he was doing on Top Chef Masters. We get a lot of requests for tasting menus, and Susur likes to do it, and it’s what he does best. He wants to offer a more intense level of cooking.”
Much remains up in the air: Bent is waiting for Lee to come back from a business trip in Singapore to discuss the interior design, the restaurant’s new name and the specifics of the menu. “People who cook with Susur don’t know what they’ll be cooking that day,” Bent says with a laugh. “But if he’s behind the kitchen, you know that it’s going to be great.”
What is certain is that the exterior will be more open to passersby. “Right now, we’re just blowing off the front of the building. With the tiny windows, it makes the place look sequestered, so that’s going to change in a week.” The dining room will also be smaller, to make for a more intimate setting, and they’re in talks for a wine program. There will be tasting menus, but Bent says diners will still be allowed to order à la carte.
Next door, Lee will remain unchanged. Its recently launched lunch menu proved to be a big hit in what seems to be a continuing trend of restaurants stepping up their game on King West (see Brassaii and Buca). Bent also adds that Lee might open another restaurant in Chicago, but for now, she’s taking it one restaurant at a time.
9 thoughts on “Madeline’s massive make-over: name changes, construction and the return of Susur Lee”
Another fine example of this chef’s inadequate abilities. First it was Lotus, then, Susur, then Madeline’s, now… I can see why so many flakes like his confused cookery, including Toronto Life editorial.
jacheung…so what trailer park do you live in …and how do you like your hot dog??? Imbecile!!!
REMEMBER FRANKIE… IF YOU DON’T MAKE THERE YOU’RE AN IMBECILE AND TORONTO ISN’T THAT ANYMORE… GO HAVE A LIFE SOMEWHERE ELSE MAY BACK TO SINGAP
To get a sense of where Susur ranks in this industry, try watching Top Chef Masters. This season he is competing against some of the best chefs in the world. It’s hard to not catch the extent to which his peers respect his work. They almost seem to revere him. I’ve eaten at Susur twice. The first time was without question the best food experience of my life. The second time was even better (Susur had just returned from a trip to Austria to pickup truffles). Can’t wait for his return!
You would think Susur would have learned by now not to allow his wife to design his restaurants. Hire someone of equal talent Susur and let your wife stay home and take care of the kids.
I’ve eaten at Susur about 6 times before his move to NYC. It was perfection the 1st time and just went downhill from there. The last was truly dissappointing for the $1200 tab for four. Mabey I’m a fool for returning time after time but there is always hope. My fingers are crossed.
Everywhere have to pay for the top chef… nobody is 100 %..you don’t like ..try another one… result almost the same….over expectation….!!!!!
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