Last September, Susur Lee’s Luckee restaurant, in the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel, in downtown Toronto, introduced weekday lunchtime dim sum.
Not surprisingly, given Susur’s stellar culinary record, creative touches abound, backed up by rock-solid technique. For example, crispy/soft chicken potstickers, packed with minced chicken and chives, shine when dipped into black vinegar. A scallop slice and truffle top siu mai dumplings stuffed with chicken, shrimp and porcini — and a dip into Chinese mustard kicks the dumplings into overdrive.
Shatteringly crisp taro rosti crowns pillow-soft turnip cakes. But the highlight is the lobster cheung fun. Susur’s signature creation, these rolls are built on two layers of rice roll, an outer, soft layer and an inner, crispy layer, and are crowned with medallions of poached lobster, shallots and scallions. The contrast of soft/crispy, fused with luxurious lobster, is irresistible.
Soft/crispy contrast is also at play in an uncommonly delicious soba noodle salad, which gets its flavour from a punchy, orange-scented Taiwanese-Japanese vinaigrette and its textural charms from al dente noodles and crunchy Asian slaw fashioned from 21 ingredients.
A generous bowl brings exceedingly moist duck perched on a mound of sticky rice studded with taro, chestnut and shiitake mushrooms.
A trio of light, sophisticated desserts brings this luxurious lunch to a close. There are chewy/soft, ball-shaped sesame doughnuts stuffed with egg custard; tiny tarts anchored by ethereally delicate puff pastry cradling smooth ginger custard; and intensely flavoured passionfruit mango pineapple pudding garnished with coconut mousse.
Conceived by interior design team Bent and Gable, the restaurant is casual and welcoming, with plenty of hard surfaces and bright colours highlighted by vibrant reds.
The restaurant is available for half and full buyouts, and can host up to 120 people for seated dinner. A private dining room can host 12 to 24. Parties larger than 30 are hosted in the Apothecary section and are considered a half buyout.=
Luckee can host special events, corporate parties and presentations, and exclusive dining events. The adjoining lounge space can host large parties, complete with DJ.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,300 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.