Bent (777 Dundas Street West, Toronto)
Bent opened their doors a few weeks ago and it has been a highly anticipated opening as it is Chef Susur Lee's newest venture in Toronto and also taking on the reigns are his sons Kai and Levi. The space is warm, inviting and very modern all at the same time, fitted with white ceramic tiles, wood, glass displays varying with flowers or tiny dolls (quite kitschy and not as weird as it sounds!)
The food was excellent and at moments stellar, but I did have a bit of an issue with service. The staff were knowledgeable and pleasant and although it was a busy night, it took a painfully long time to receive 3 share plates. In addition, there was a lack of attention to service as our drinks were empty for the majority of the night and we would have liked to order more food and drink but not a single server checked in. Although I loved the food and perhaps it was an off night, but the service put a damper on the entire experience (sadly).
The nigiri sampler was a wonderful treat and was made with great precision and technique.
The Hamachi with scallion and nori seasoning really stole the show. The yellowtail was incredibly fresh, great texture and the combination of flavours were sublime. The King Salmon, European Wild Snapper (Shiso, Momiji Oroshi, Calamansi, Sea Salt) and Magoro (White Soy Glaze, Red Shiso) were all fresh and interesting.
Smoked Cod Taro Taco
Chipotle Mayo, Cilantro, Tomatillo, Jicima
I really loved the flavours of this taco. Ingenious use of taro as the taco shell exterior and it worked very well with the flavours of the smoked cod, chipotle mayo, cilantro, tomatillo and jicima. It was creamy, crunchy, fresh, sweet and salty = well balanced and excellent flavours.
Braised Spiced Short Ribs
Black Garlic, Parsnip Puree, Roasted Rosemary Duck Fat Potato with Sour Cream and Chives
Who doesn't love a good short rib? These were succulent and juicy, very well executed. The black garlic and parsnip purée integrated well with the deliciously seasoned fatty ribs and a fresh, creamy element from the sour cream and chives. The duck fat potatoes were well cooked, seasoned, crispy and delicious. Overall the dish was intensely rich and could have used a bit of acidity, but it was honestly my favourite of the night.
Peanut/Black Bean Rice Ball, Blueberry Lemon Curd
Rice ball was a bit soggy but the curd was refreshing, tart and creamy.