*Finally was able to get this post out after the long delay from web browser issues and whatnot (wordpress crashing my browsers every 5 minutes) D: But enjoy the final review of summerlicious 2014!
I have heard of this restaurant many times before, and I finally got the chance to visit it for Summerlicious 2014. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to end off my Summerlicious trek with this famous restaurant, alongside my foodie friends! Lee Restaurant is owned by the internationally well-known celebrity chef, Susur Lee, who’s roots lie in both Hong Kong and Toronto (the same as me)! He owns several restaurant in the Toronto vicinity, but this is one of the more famous ones started in 2004. It was our lucky day for dining, as we were able to spot Susur walking around the restaurant and watching over his kitchen. He was too busy to be able to take a photo with us, but my friend was able to snap a couple of shots of him in his notable pose watching over things.
The restaurant itself was very nice. The decor had oriental inspirational touches, but was very modern still. Their patio was gorgeous looking and I wish we had been able to sit outside! We went on a weekday night and it was still packed and busy throughout. Large glass windows allowed natural sunlight to filter in, brightening up the place nicely. Environment was quite casual, and definitely a noisier type of restaurant with the amount of people all sitting so close together. Our waiter was super informative and very nice. He explained that because Lee is a tapas style sharing restaurant normally, that the Summerlicious can be done both regular style and tapas style. Regular style would mean everyone orders their own dishes to be served individually. With tapas style, all the dishes get set in the center for everyone to share. Tapas style worked perfectly for us because we had the right number of people to taste every dish in the Summerlicious menu, and we were going to share it all anyway! So easy ordering for us that night. Time for a final review of the food!
A nice refreshing drink, which was a strong mix of alcohol, sweet, and sour flavours. Lots of fruits including tropical ones that soaked up the drink with an interesting flavour! Not particularly my type of alcoholic beverage, but definitely an enjoyable cocktail to try.
Mmm the calamari was crispy, large, and delicious with some flavourful seasoning. The cod cake sitting below the calamari was just as good. Deep fried on the outside and soft on the inside. The mayo/salsa mix was a little too spicy for me though as it had Sriracha in it. The side salad… was a salad.
This is my first time having this type of salad, even though this is a well known combination I believe. I really enjoyed it and I think it’s the perfect summer salad dish! The watermelons were so sweet and juicy and everything was sized nicely to be able to pop into your mouth in one bite in order to taste the blend of all the ingredients together. Could definitely just have a plate of that to myself!
The chicken drumsticks were very tasty, but the spice was a little too spicy for me to finish a whole piece myself. However, everyone else loved the chicken. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed those sesame crisps! The mango salad was a typical thai-style salad, with very fresh ingredients and a good “sour” blend to it.
When the dish first came, we were like… WHERE’S THE SALMON?…. oh, it’s under the crunchy noodles! This is VERY Asian looking! Noodles were an interesting touch to it, but the salmon dish itself was cooked very western style. The noodles added a nice seasoned crunch to the rest of it, showing off the Asian inspired fusion style of this restaurant. The salmon was a little overcooked for my liking (but I’m starting to get used to this at restaurants that cook their fish to appeal to the western culture). The sauce however, was the best part of this dish for me. It was a delicious blend of sweet tomato flavours that made everything in the dish so tasty!!! I wanted to dip everything else in this sauce!
Probably my least favourite dish of the night, but that’s a personal bias because I never ever liked quinoa in any dish that I’ve tried. Also… mushrooms is not a food item that I’m a fan of… so this would definitely not have been a dish I would have picked individually =P. However, I think it was a group decision that this dish was not the most popular since it was the last dish with the most leftover in the end. It was a little too cheesy for me as well. I felt like all I could really taste was just strong cheese flavour with popping quinoa bits in it. Only liked those onion croutons on top. So this dish probably isn’t for everyone… it definitely caters to a very specific audience rather than to the general tastebuds of people.
The steak was cooked medium rare. A tad bit too chewy rather than soft and tender though. Probably not the best quality of beef, so an overall tasty but alright dish. Their tomato-based sauce was once again stellar and made everything else better. Flavour-wise, they got everything there, but it wasn’t the best of quality of dishes.
So for their tapas style Summerlicious desserts, everyone gets served one of each item on their own plates. #1 The meringues were a crispy crunchy softness of which you would expect. Very cute and light for a dessert. Enjoyed the lemon curd, but felt the rhubarb was too sour for it. #2 The mousse was very strong in white chocolate flavour, and also very sweet. Was a denser type of creamy mousse, but not sure if it went with the strawberry and dragon fruit mix. #3 The spring roll was a little too heavy and too sweet for a dessert I felt. I also didn’t like the fact that the spring roll was all soggy drenched in the overly sweet sauce. Everything was way too dense and heavy for the last item at the end of the meal, to the point that others weren’t able to finish it up. Overall, the desserts were really mediocre according to everyone, nothing to be excited about… which is disappointing for the end of a good meal. :(
On a weekday night, you’ll get the business people in the area, but the style of the restaurant is also much more casual than you would think for a celebrity chef restaurant. Coming in a nice casual summer outfit would fit right in, especially for the patio as well.
Lee Restaurant was a great place to dine at. I felt like I had a bit higher expectations for the food based on its reputation and the hype from others who have tried their regular dishes. However, I still enjoyed the food and the asian fusion style they provided. Next time, I feel like I would like to try the restaurant with their regular menu items to see the difference, and whether there is an improvement in the quality of the dishes. I did feel like they had some very unique items and I’m glad I got to come to this place at last. The patio would be a great place to dine at in the summer as well!
And here finally is the end of the Summerlicious 2014 list of reviews! I hope it was informative and enjoyable and thanks for reading :) I will be back with random restaurant posts if I have some spare time, otherwise until Winterlicious 2015!
Lots of foodie loves,
Restaurant: Lee Restaurant
Winterlicious: $45 Dinner
Reservations: Definitely make a reservation early on as this is a popular location and gets full every night.
Attire: Casual / Nice Casual