First Look: Bent, a new Dundas West restaurant from Susur Lee and his sons
Having grown up in the restaurant industry, earning their chops at Lee Restaurant, the Bent-Lee brothers have been looking to branch out with a new concept for some time. Expectations are high, but the brothers maintain — with equal parts confidence and hope — that this is their turn to build the next part of the family legacy, geared towards a younger, more casual crowd.
Bent is the namesake of designer Brenda Bent, Lee’s wife, who also designed the space along with partner Karen Gable. At Bent, white subway tiles meet antique wood floors and furniture, including old church benches, retro pinball machines and a back wall filled with nostalgic trinkets.
Behind the food is Susur himself, along with chef de cuisine Bryan Gunness, previously a sous chef at Lee. The concept behind the food is European-Asian fusion, as one might expect: Lee has been doing “fusion” since before it was called “fusion.”
First, there’s the raw bar, offering items like black pepper charred scallop crudo ($12), tuna watermelon ceviche ($15), daily oysters ($12 for four), a vodka scallop shot ($13) and even caviar. Next, there’s the hot kitchen, with dishes like the chicken dumpling ($16) with mushrooms, leeks, roasted chorizo, pesto and a goat cheese sauce, Shanghainese steamed pork belly ($19) or a smoked cod taro taco ($15).
As for drinks, there’s beer, like Tsing Tao ($7), and wine, but the big focus is on sake, including the Bent x Izumi House Blend namazake (unpasteurized sake, 300 mL for $42 or 1.8L for $126), distilled locally under the Izumi brand at the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company in the Distillery District. As for cocktails, there’s the Asian Caesar ($16) made with sobieski, clamato, chili oil, sriracha, coriander, hoisin, soy, sesame seed, ginger, house rum and pickled radish.
In keeping with the Dundas West tradition, there are no reservations, but plenty of seating is available for customers waiting for a table.
Bent, 777 Dundas St. W., 647-352-0092