Susur Lee

The Dish

The Month That Was

6 Comments

The Month That Was: The Toronto restaurants and bars that opened and closed in August

Bent, the new restaurant from Susur Lee and his sons (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Openings

  • Bent—Susur Lee’s sons Kai and Levi Bent-Lee take a stab at the restaurant business as they helm Bent, but the rest of the family isn’t too far away: Susur runs the kitchen, while their mother, Brenda Bent-Lee, is responsible for the restaurant’s design. Read our Introducing post »
  • The Food Dudes’ Food Truck—Adrian Niman (of The Food Dudes catering company, and formerly of North 44) ventures out into the world of food trucks to bring “food-driven entertainment” to dudes and, uh, everyone else too. Read our Introducing post »
  • Museum TavernAn incredibly well-stocked ode to the great American bar has opened up across from the ROM. Read our Introducing post »
  • Sanagan’s Meat LockerOne deli replaces another in Kensington Market, as Sanagan’s takes over the old locale of European Quality Meats and Sausages (Hooked will be moving into the recently vacated Sanagan’s space). Read our Introducing post »
  • Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Openings

15 Comments

Introducing: Bent, the new Dundas West restaurant from Susur Lee’s sons Kai and Levi Bent-Lee

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

After a long wait and swirling rumours, Bent, the new Dundas West restaurant from the Bent-Lee clan, has finally—and quietly—opened. While we originally reported that the spot was due to open last December, in a tale as old as restaurant-industry time itself, things didn’t happen quite as swiftly as originally envisioned. Kai and Levi Bent-Lee have taken the restaurant’s reins, though the place remains a family affair, with Susur Lee in charge of the kitchen and Brenda Bent-Lee behind the space’s unique design.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

People

15 Comments

Q&A: Levi Bent-Lee, the man behind Bent and the son of super-chef Susur Lee

Levi Bent-Lee is opening his first restaurant, Bent, at Dundas and Bathurst. His dad will run the kitchen. Things could get complicated

Levi Bent-Lee

(Image: Mark Peckmezian)

You’re 22. What qualifies you to open a restaurant?
I essentially grew up in a restaurant, and my father has taught me so much. I’ve travelled to Japan, Bali, Hong Kong, mainland China, Macau and Singapore, and all over Europe and the U.S. I’ve eaten some crazy stuff: turtle, pig snout, fish sperm. That one was gross. You eat it with soy sauce.

I assume it won’t be on the menu at your restaurant. What will be?
There will be a raw bar in the front for ceviche and Japanese crudo, and a hot kitchen in the back. I’ll run operations, my younger brother Kai will run the bar, and my dad will run the kitchen.

Your dad is famously untamable. If he’s late for work, will you give him hell?
My dad is late all the time, but somehow, he always has a good excuse for it. Even if he’s just been sleeping, it’s because he works so friggin’ hard and deserves that sleep.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

14 Comments

These Booths Were Made for Gawking: who sits where at La Société

These Booths Were Made for Gawking

The cuisine is supremely so-so, but the glitzy atmosphere and A-plus people-watching at La Société—the crown jewel of Toronto’s see-and-be-seen scene—more than make up for it. Here, the inside scoop on who sits where.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

Comments

Rawlicious to open new location in…Soho?

Rawlicious’ clever culinary masquerade is heading south to New York later this month. Thanks to an enthusiastic vegan father-son duo visiting from New York, co-owners of Rawlicious Chelsea Clark and Angus Crawford were convinced to set up a branch in NYC’s Soho, which according to Grub Street will be a 60-seat café open from 11 to 11 daily. The last time a Toronto restaurant set foot in the Big Apple, of course, the results were not so positive. In an interview with the Sun after his failed attempt at expansion there, Susur Lee warned: “New York is always difficult….They are more traditional than we think.” And while Rawlicious’ lack of gluten, dairy and sugar might not appeal to all tastes, we figure that in such a trendy, body-conscious neighbourhood, the health factor will probably go over well. [Grub Street]

The Dish

Food Events

5 Comments

Some of the tastes—and sights—at last weekend’s 1,000 Tastes of Toronto

The crowds came out in force for this year’s 1,000 Tastes of Toronto (Image: Igor Yu)

Luminato’s always-popular 1,000 Tastes of Toronto food festival returned to the Distillery over the weekend, heading back to its original location after stints along Queen’s Quay and John Street. Meant to be a celebration of the diversity of Toronto’s food scene, it featured 33 restaurants and shops whose offerings ranged from shrimp po’ boys to brick-oven pizza, all redeemable for $5 tickets. We stopped by on Sunday to check out the action.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Food Events

6 Comments

Luminato announces lineup for 2012 edition of 1,000 Tastes of Toronto

One of Toronto’s 1,000 tastes, from last year’s festival (Image: Luminato)

On Friday, Luminato announced the full list of restaurants, vendors and food shops participating in its annual 1,000 Tastes of Toronto event, which moves back to the Distillery on June 9 and 10 after last year’s foray onto John Street. Notable among the list of attendees at the street food festival is Bent, the upcoming restaurant headed by Susur Lee’s sons Levi and Kai Bent-Lee (which is slated to open very soon). Other food programming at this year’s Luminato includes Rainer Prohaska’s Toronto Carretilla Initiative, a kind of participatory art installation that’s also a public feast, and a conversation between New Yorker writers Adam Gopnik and Calvin Trillin about Canadian cuisine, a subject both writers have experience waxing charmingly condescending about.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

10 Comments

More details emerge about Bent, the new restaurant from the Bent-Lee clan

The future home of Bent at 777 Dundas St. W.

While the initial hoped-for launch date of Christmas 2011 has come and gone (like every single other hoped-for launch date in the history of the restaurant industry), the new project from Susur Lee and his sons Levi and Kai Bent-Lee is coming along nicely. The restaurant, we’re told, will be called Bent, after Susur’s wife, Brenda Bent, who designed the interior (given the family’s restaurant naming history, with Susur, Lee and Madeline’s, this leaves the names Brenda, Kai, Levi, Jet and Bent-Lee available for future projects). Levi will be in charge of the restaurant’s operations, Kai will run the bar, which will focus on sake, and Susur, naturally, will be in charge of the kitchen, whose menu will apparently prominently feature ceviche. If things go according to schedule, Bent should be open for business in about four weeks.

The Dish

Food TV

7 Comments

Top Chef Canada recap, episode 6: double trouble

“Hiya boss!” (Image: Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 2 | Episode 6

Six weeks into the competition, the gloves have finally come off. The judges are getting pickier, the challenges are getting meaner (see the quickfire below) and the chefs are getting more than a little testy (last week’s blowups with Elizabeth Rivasplata were child’s play in comparison). On top of all that, last night’s episode showcased the always entertaining Restaurant Wars, during which the chefs divide up into teams to see whose restaurant can screw up the least. We were pretty much glued to the screen.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

1 Comment

Forgot to make a Valentine’s Day reservation? Here are 10 restaurants that still have space

Above: Plan B. Or maybe Plan C (Image: Pizza Pizza)

Hoping to take your sweetheart to Splendido, Scarpetta or Auberge du Pommier for Valentine’s Day? Well sorry, it’s too late. However, we did find some restaurants that have both romantic prix-fixe menus and a few tables left for procrastinators. It helps if said sweetheart doesn’t mind eating a bit early or late. And if all else fails, there’s always Pizza Pizza, which will be serving up heart-shaped pizzas until next week (because nothing says “I love you” like gooey cheese, delivery boys and cardboard boxes).

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Food TV

Comments

Top Chef Canada reveals the rather stacked list of guest judges for season two

Remember last year when Chris Cosentino, one of the pioneers of the offal revival, visited Toronto for undisclosed reasons and claimed he could smell Chinatown from three blocks away? Or when Richard Blais, the molecularly inclined winner of Top Chef All-Stars, tweeted about the interesting tasting menu he’d just lunched on in Toronto? Or when Italian food legend Lidia Bastianich dropped in at All the Best Fine Foods? Turns out they weren’t here just because they love us—they’re all guest judges on season two of Top Chef Canada. Other notable judges and tasters include—and let us be clear, this is a bit of a spoiler for those who really like to keep their Top Chef Canada viewing pure—east-coast chef Michael Smith, season one host Thea Andrews (no hard feelings, we guess!), chef-about-town Matty Matheson of Parts and Labour, Leafs assistant captain Colby Armstrong, Susur Lee and his soon-to-be restaurateur sons Kai and Jet Bent-Lee, Toca’s Tom Brodi, Roger Mooking, Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelson, last season’s winner Dale MacKay and his adorable son Ayden, Keisha Chante, Rick the Temp Campanelli, Lorenzo Loseto of George, Charlie’s Burgers mastermind Franco Stalteri, husband-and-wife dynamos Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich, Odd Bits author Jennifer McLagan, Vancouver Indian restaurateur and chef Vikram Vij and assorted competitors from last season, not to mention the somewhat bizarro guests we already told you about, like Alan Thicke and Mike Holmes. (Whew!) Not bad.

The Dish

Restaurants

6 Comments

Susur Lee to open new spot on the Dundas West foodie mile with his sons

Lee at his last opening, Lee Lounge (Image: Renée Suen)

The comings and goings at 777 Dundas Street West sure have been attracting a lot of attention of late. The one-time home of Le Corner has now been scooped up by none other than Susur Lee. This time, however, there’s a catch: according to Now magazine it’s Lee’s sons, Levi and Kai Bent-Lee, who will be the faces of the joint, with their celebu-dad popping in and out of the kitchen.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Licious

5 Comments

Alternalicious: a roundup of this year’s Summerlicious 2011 rebels

Every food festival worth its weight in foie gras has its dissenters, and this year’s Summerlicious is no exception. While the citywide summer food-fest can be a great way to promote a restaurant (check out our top 63 picks here), the stingy tippers and city-mandated restrictions can be a major-league deterrent for others. And so notable chefs, including Susur Lee, are exercising their inner rebel by offering an (unofficial) alternative to the prix fixe madness taking over the city. After the jump, a roundup of prix fixe and alternative summer menus we’ve unearthed:

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

People

2 Comments

Q&A with Hemant Bhagwani: the Amaya co-owner on building his Indian restaurant empire

Although the recession is officially over, its effects—shuttered doors and restaurants offering humbler, more comfort-driven cuisine—can still be seen on Toronto’s culinary landscape. So we were a bit surprised when we heard the news that the Amaya Group is set to open yet another outpost next month, this time on Ossington. With even further expansion ahead, we asked Amaya co-owner Hemant Bhagwani about the secrets to his success and the future of the empire.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Food TV

18 Comments

Top Chef Canada recap, episode 4: ethnic stuff white people like

The judges get their serious faces on as the losing teams walk out (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions)

TOP CHEF CANADA
Season 1 | Episode 4

Previous
No next

First off, a confession: focusing on Top Chef Canada last night, as the ground-shaking results from the election poured in, was a little tough (we bet this episode’s ratings will agree). But fear not, election junkies–cum–Top Chef fans—we stuck it out so you didn’t have to (and then promptly switched to the CBC to find the Tory win had already been projected). Still, episode four—which featured Susur Lee, Toronto’s ethnic cuisines and, yes, more chefs in their underwear (hi, Dale!)—turned out to be pretty entertaining. After the jump, our recap of the Top Chef Canada episode you were too patriotic to watch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement