Luckee Restaurant
By Libby Roach

Little hearts

Creating a legacy is no small feat. Celebrity Chef Susur Lee has been at the top of his game for decades now, curating unique dining experiences that combine traditional recipes and methods, blended with innovative ingredients and techniques, which are hallmarks at all his restaurants. And, Luckee is no different. This Toronto restaurant is so much more than just another Chinese restaurant, with a sumptuous lounge bar and on trend neon signage anchoring the eatery and injecting an infectious energy into the space. The design of the space is integral to Chef Lee's mission. Crafting a welcoming experience that keeps diners engaged and excited is part of Susur Lee's mantra

Luckee boasts all day dim sum, using a traditional wagon service, allowing the diner to choose what suits their palates.

"Round tables allow for sharing, and dim sum, which translates to 'touch little hearts' is a perfect meal to share.  A lot of people that are not familiar with Asian culture might be scared to ask, they sometimes don’t know what they’re eating. For our staff, in Toronto, we live in such a multicultural city – we have many staff that speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin, never be shy – just ask! A lot of people say you can get dim sum in Chinatown, but you can’t get this kind of dim sum in Chinatown. It’s a dying art, our chef is in his late 50’s, his whole life he’s been doing dim sum. We treasure that skill," says Susur.

Dim Sum, which translates to 'touch little hearts,' is a perfect meal to share. - Susur Lee, Owner

Modern elements

Susur Lee channels his regular travels to Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong (among countless other countries) injecting innovative ingredients and methods to the menu, even on the most traditional dishes. Everything comes down to defining the experience – a skill Chef Lee excels at. Regularly scanning his dining room at Luckee, Susur is in tune with what diners are looking for. It all comes down to the moment: the experience, the taste, the colour, how it's presented, what the aroma is, and also the sound and the texture of the food as you bite into one of his dishes.

Tweaking dishes to incorporate healthy eating and providing gluten-free and vegetarian options also isn't an easy feat, but Susur Lee is passionate about blending these two ideals, and bridging these two cultures – chopsticks mingle here with forks, leveling the playing field and creating an international atmosphere. His signature slaw is world famous, and at Luckee, the 19 ingredient dish is reborn as a Soba Noodle Salad, using healthy buckwheat to incorporate those ideas. Fiercely secretive of the recipe, he jokes that he's so protective of the dish that it's like his last kid, and with a stunning table-side presentation with dry ice, it's easy to see that this dish is served with pride.

Proudly patriotic

While frequent travels keep Chef Lee on the road, he looks forward to returning to Canada, citing Toronto as his favourite city. The more he travels, the more Susur realizes how open minded Canadians are, always game to try new things making Toronto a perfect platform to play with food and discover new dishes, or tinker with tradition and recreate his always popular Dim Sum basket. Equal parts exciting and inspired, Luckee feels right at home no matter where you're from.

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