We went to Susur this (Saturday) evening and after this EXTREMELY bad experience, we will never never ever again recommend Susur to anyone, friend or foe.
I was about 20 min late for the 6:30pm reservation due to traffic because I forgot the Toronto Maple Leafs were playing tonight (which meant a lot of traffic in the downtown area). We were told that the 5 course tasting menu was not doable because they needed us out of their restaurant by 9pm. We thought 2.5 hours was kind of tight even for a regular meal but, though disappointed, said fine and 2 of us settled for the 3 course tasting menu instead (the other 2 just ordered from the menu).
The first course came in about 10-15 min. Tom Gandey (in another post) was absolutely right about Susur's ingredient quality falling well short. Both the venison I had and the ostrich my wife had were barely eatable with way too much gristles that you would find in cheap meat at a low end restaurant. We advised the waiter and manager of this problem and the manager pretty well brushed us off in an arrogant manner as if to say how dare we complain.
The second course didn't come until about 30 minutes later and I had the halibut which was fine but far from spectacular given the price. Then the third course dessert came which was essentially chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream with some pineapple bits thrown in. Not exactly original but I guess they were in a hurry after taking 30 minutes for the second course. The other 2 people with us who didn't order the tasting menu didn't get much of a chance to order dessert and none of us had a chance for coffee/tea and we could hardly finish our 2nd bottle of wine ordered during the late 2nd course before we were given the bill and rushed out of the restaurant.
We complained to management about being rushed and they said that it was because we were late (by about 20min) and they couldn't keep their 9pm customers waiting. The fact that we were kept waiting for 30 minutes for the second course was irrelevant to them and in fact they blamed us, claiming that my lateness (by about 20 min) threw them off their schedule and that's why we had to wait 30 minutes for the second course. Whatever. We thought this arrogant attitude was absolutely and unequivocally unacceptable.
Susur is (suppose to be) a high end restaurant and to be treated like sh*t because we were 20 minutes late due to traffic is absolutely unacceptable. We've been to all the high end restaurants in TO and many all over the world for that matter and have never been treated this badly ever. The managers were absolutely arrogant and unfriendly. Our waiter, however, was fine.
I can understand the need to set restrictions on time because they need to make money after all, but to me, 2.5 hours between tables is cutting it very tight and makes for a very rushed and thus tense evening. This is not fast food. I contend that 3 hours between sittings is more reasonable and was the case in many other restaurants we frequent not only in TO but all over the world. If I had been on time (i.e., 20 min earlier) and had we been able to order the 5-course tasting menu, would we be able to eat the extra 2 courses in those 20 min without being rushed? I rather doubt it.
In any case, we will never go back to Susur or Lee ever again. Judging on the attitude of Susur's management, I would imagine that they don't care. The feeling is mutual. We are known by our friends and colleagues both in and out of town to be "foodies" and are often asked to recommend restaurants. Make no mistake about it, we will never again recommend Susur. There are many good restaurants in town who actually care about their customers.
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