My introduction to truly fine-dining really started in the late 90's. When my wife and I were dating she knew I loved food and treated me to a really great place for my birthday, a truly teeny place getting much renown, called "Lotus."
It was a revelation. I'd never experienced cooking on that level, with that attention, with that type of creativity. I remember our appetizer, a sort of flower petal-type carving of the thinnest, buttery smooth melon containing within it the most incredibly fresh lobster (might have been crab) flesh. It was so amazing and surprising that I always think of that very appetizer as when my eyes were opened to the possibilities inherent in fine dining.
I couldn't afford to eat out too often, but when I did I made it to Susur's next restaurant "Susur" a few times, for his all out reverse-order tasting menus. They always blew my mind. But then, I hadn't nearly the number of other such experiences to compare with. I'd also done Splendido a couple of times and it too elevated my ideas of food.
Since Susur has been closed I had to go searching elsewhere for culinary adventure and have since broadened my horizons. And it has me reflecting on where Susur actually stands in terms of it's quality and the experience it offered. That's why I'm throwing the question to those here who would be more familiar both with current offerings and those of the time, relative to Susur restaurant.
How would you rate the level of cooking and dining experience at the now gone Susur restaurant, relative to what you'd experienced of other places at the time (in T.O. or elsewhere) and to dining you can do now?
(I suppose this can be extended to how one rates Susur Lee's cooking in general. Having had a really terrific meal at Bent not that long ago (not necessarily expected, given the conflicting reviews), it seems I still quite enjoy his creations).