When I first asked Vince what he wanted to do for his birthday, the poor guy’s face grew long and he told me that since he couldn’t really eat what he wanted or drink beer that it wasn’t really worth celebrating until after the 28 Day Challenge. Adding to that fact was that he had to work on his birthday and wouldn’t get off until 9:30.
Well, me being in the mood for a challenge (as I have been for the past 27 days) meant that I wasn’t going to let my husband’s birthday pass without something special.
My mind went back to the list my friend created when we at the Hogtown Vegan, when she had jotted down Lee restaurant as a place to visit while doing the 28 Day Challenge. Lee is one of the restaurants owned by Susur Lee, Iron Chef, and well known for his culinary creations and restaurants. Vince and I had always wanted to go there and so I thought I’d call to see if they could accommodate our ahem, many, restrictions. After the maitre d’ put us on hold to speak with the chef I was doubtful. When he did come back on the line, it was to confirm that the chef could accommodate our meat/gluten/dairy/refined sugar free restrictions. And they would be able to seat us at 10pm…right after Vince was off work.
We arrived right on time, and the same person I spoke with the night before, Patrick, was there to show us to our seats. As we were given the menus, Vince and I started sorting through the items to see which one’s were closest to what we could eat…it was beginning to look a bit daunting. But then Patrick came to let us know that the Chef had prepare a four-course tasting menu especially for us. You should’ve seen the smile on Vince’s face. We’ve never, ever, done a tasting menu before so he was all over that.
The first course was the Singapore Slaw, Lee’s signature dish that includes some 25 to 30 odd ingredients, was served with tuna sashimi. Patrick served it himself, and I was so captivated by all the ingredients and the presentation, that I forgot to snap a pic! I can guarantee that it was delicious though…Vince’s face tells it all.
The second course was a black cod, served with cherry reduction, lotus root chips, and mushroom medley on top. The fish was poached, delicate and all the flavours really came together.
For the third course, they served us a diver scallop, with root vegetables and a rice tuile. It was also, as you can probably guess, really delicious.
Then Vince got a little birthday surprise.
For the final course, dessert, there was only so much they could do (to their credit). They served a raspberry sorbet with fruit, and a dehydrated glazed pineapple slice for garnish.
We were treated so well, the food was spectacular, and we felt satisfied. Vince had an amazing birthday dinner!
When we thought it couldn’t get better, after our meal Patrick came to check on us and then invited us to see the kitchen and meet the chef (not Susur but his head chef..still amazing!)! I think this was the cherry on top for Vince and literally made the evening even more spectacular.
We will definitely be coming back to Lee – for the dishes we couldn’t try (i.e. anything that included meat/gluten/dairy/refined sugar), and the cocktails.
It was a really memorable night for both of us, but an especially memorable birthday for Vince. I think its definitely safe to say that Lee exceeded both our expectations – in the quality of the food despite our numerous restrictions, the service, and the special attention they gave us. We reveled in it.
Side note (but super important): Today is the LAST day of our 28 Day Challenge and we’re looking forward to sharing with you what saved us and the lessons we learned…you know, in case you wanted to do it, too :)