The latest on Susur Lee’s new restaurant: a name, a hallway and more
After weeks of speculation, we can finally report that Susur Lee’s new restaurant—the one opening in the same space as the original Susur and the short-lived Madeline’s—will be called Lee Lounge. The name may not earn five stars for creativity, but from what we hear, it is less about charting new territory and more about Toronto’s Asian sensation returning to his eastern roots.
The place is scheduled to open next month, and there are no menu specifics as of yet. We do know that Lee Lounge will be attached to the adjacent Lee through an indoor hallway, and that the idea is to have a place where diners will want to stick around after their meal. To that end, relaxed lounge-style seating and a DJ are on the agenda. And with Susur at the helm, we’re guessing cocktails will reach a whole new level of sophistication. Pork belly-tini, anyone?
14 thoughts on “The latest on Susur Lee’s new restaurant: a name, a hallway and more”
Who cares. Overblown, overrated and pretentious chef with, obviously, a really good PR team behind him. Shang at the Thompson LES Hotel in NY was a flop. The more sophisticated patrons of NYC being a tad more discriminating than the self-proclaimed Toronto “foodies”. Pretentious is a Canadian word….
It’s definitely not for the pretentious “more sophisticated patrons of NYC” (what make them more sophisticated anyway?), but it’s for simple, food loving Torontonian like me for sure!
Commenter “Who cares” seems to hold such personal venom that I think he’s either disgruntled ex-staff, staff, or pissed off restauranteur.
I concur with the person who says Susur’s reputation is overblown. Had a lousy birthday dinner at Susur’s years ago and was treated abominably when I politely complained. I don’t mind paying outrageous prices if the food is excellent, but I was served inedibly overcooked meat. There are much better meals to be had in this city, prepared by talented chefs who largely are ignored by the media, including Toronto Life. Time to get off the Susur bandwagon.
I’ve been to Lee and Madeline’s more than once. I have always had great service and the $1 corkage fee at Mads was a bonus! I never once found it pretentious and have recommended it to friends. But then, maybe I am not pretentious enough to not appreciate it?! By the way, support talented local chefs. How many of our chefs can say they’ve acheived what Susur has while staying true to his roots? Ahem, Iron Chef America??
Totally agree that Susur is overated in all of his restaurants. Really appreciated the experience of his wait staff asking us to leave on my wife’s birthday when we had barely finished dessert because they were in a rush to start seating the next group of patrons. Nice way to treat someone who just dropped $400 in your establishment!!!!
It is certainly unfortunate for anyone who had a less than wonderful experience at a “Susur” establishment.
I am a fan. Sorry to rain on your pissing party – but I have always enjoyed everything and never been mistreated by staff – in fact quite the opposite.
New York’s loss is Toronto’s treasure.
Welcome Home Susur. I can’t wait to have an opportunity to feast at your table again!!!!
While I can appreciate his talent I really feel Susur and the overbloated price tags to his eateries just too over the top. It is easy to put Susur and narcissist in the same sentence. Toronto is filled with lots of great eating establishments which make me feel a whole lot more comfortable than any of my dining experiences at Lee’s restaurant(s). He just ain’t all that and a bag of chips. I think he’s back in the big smoke because he just couldn’t make it in the big apple. I won’t be venturing into his spot anytime soon.
To the Susur-haters and those who think he got his reputation simply due to PR rather than merit, just wondering if you saw the Top Chef Masters competition on Bravo. Probably not but anyway, it’s basically a competition where only the top chefs all over the US were invited to participate. Emphasis on the word Masters, meaning up-and-coming chefs did NOT get an invite and neither did those talentless Canadian chefs you see on Food Network Canada.
Anyway, there were about 20 participants and in the end Susur ended up second. And the final score was questionable. Susur DOMINATED this competition among master chefs scoring the HIGHEST and the second highest point total in the history of the show. If you were to tally his points from the beginning of the competition to the end there is no doubt he clearly was head and shoulders above these well-respected American chefs.
Susur Lee is both a talented and original chef. The combination puts him in a very small and rare elite group. The closer he moves to the Asian or heavier end of his spectrum, the less I like his food. But I always appreciate his talent and inquiring mind. And when he is at his best, there is no one better.
The comments on New York, Toronto etc. are sad. We are lucky enough to live in a world where all the major cities have at least one or two outstanding chefs and several very good ones, and people more than able to appreciate them.
I never write in these things but feel compelled to write because I was shocked at so many negative reviews. This is an unabashedly positive one. I have eaten at Susur twice and Lee many times. I have always found the food divine and the service impeccable. For those who feel that Susur is “pretentious”, I’ve never found that. Lotus, which was situated in the very unpretentious Kensington Market, was a phenomenal restaurant, and I’m sorry, but there are many restaurants in Toronto where you cna spend a lot of money on dinners (interestingly these restaurants aren’t critiqued). I have never had food like I had at Susur, and I consider it one of the great culinary experiences of my life. Saying it is PR is frankly an insult, and I’d love to see if that individual could even imagine being able to have the kind of innovation and skill that he has.
I feel compelled to write also. It is unfortunate that there are those here that feel it necessary to extoll the virtues of a man who is NOT cooking in Toronto at this time. It is meaningless what his reputation was or is elsewhere. I have eaten at Susur Lee when he was chef and THAT was an experience. A wonderful one. I ate at Lee restaurant recently and it BOMBS. It is owned by Susur Lee, but that is where the similarity ends. It would be difficult to pinpoint one aspect of the dining experience at Lee Restaurant that was a good one.
The place is dark. Tables are ridiculously tiny. Music is just plain noisy. Wait staff are like robotrons with no personality at all. The ” slaw ” salad that everybody raves about is what my mother would have thrown together at the end of the week that was not eaten. Sort of like Pot-Luck. Instead of it being one of the chefs signature dishes, it is more like an inside joke.
My credentials are my ears, my eyes, and my taste buds. Regretfully, they were all abused by this overly pretentious, trying to be a hip place, and not succeeding at any level.
Better food can be had in Chinatown fot 1/3 the price albeit with the occasional msg.
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