Susur does Dundas

Top chef to open new resto with his sons


Celebu-chef Susur Lee may have recently shuttered his Shang supper-club in New York City but his culinary empire looks set to expand again, only this time locally.

Expected to open early in the new year, the as-yet-unnamed boite in the former Le Corner at 777 Dundas West at Markham marks the top chef’s first resto in partnership with his sons Levi and Kai.

“My brother and I will be running the front of the house and my dad’s in charge of the kitchen,” says Kai Bent-Lee, 19, over a bowl of pho at an Ossington noodle house. “We went up there the other night and papered all the windows. Other than that, we haven’t really touched it yet. It’s just an empty room right now but we’re still going to have to do a lot of things to it.”

The former 80-seat Vietnamese beanery – think Spring Rolls clone – will be designed by the boy’s mom, Restaurant Makeover’s Brenda Bent.

“We’re going for a different look this time,” says Bent-Lee. “Maybe a little more antique-y, a bit more delicate.”

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So it’s sayonara sleek chinoiserie and hello bric-a-brac. But what about the card?

“It’ll be a full-time restaurant, dinner only and great cocktails. To be honest, this has happened so fast that we haven’t had a chance to talk to my dad about exactly what we’re going to do.”

Sounds like a lot of responsibility for someone still in their teens.

“I’ve been working with my dad since I was 16 and kind of fell into the management role at Lee (susur.com). It’s been pretty intense,” laughs Bent-Lee. “But Lee is my parents’ vision. The new restaurant is mine and my brother’s. And it’ll be aimed at a much younger crowd.”

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Is the long-rumoured Susur-at-the-airport resto still in the cards?

“I have no idea,” says Bent-Lee finishing his soup. “There’s always lots of talk but I know for sure that we have a couple of very exciting projects coming up. It never stops!”

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