While neither your “traditional” or “Fusion” Chinese fare, Luckee stands alone. The best way I could possibly think to describe the food is Chinese food with the bar raised up sky high. Imagine having your favourite Chinese dishes but made with quality, fresh and local ingredients. Pair that with their delicious cocktails and you could have me for life, Luckee.
Luckee is Chef Susur Lee’s second restaurant in Toronto – the inspiration was definitely from his travels throughout Asia. The space is a high end throw back to something you would find in Asia – intricate woodwork, a glass wall kitchen where you can watch the kitchen at work, beautiful artwork and so on. But the art definitely doesn’t stop there.
We started off our meal with Watermelon and Crispy Tofu. What an interesting combination of flavours – sweet, refreshing then crunch and slightly salty from the tofu. I’ve never had anything like this, but I could eat the entire serving. This doesn’t look like it’s on the menu, but it definitely is a treat!
We then moved onto Cocktails – I chose The Calm – plum sake, Junmai sake, Yuzu juice, Belvedere vodka. It was tender, slightly sweet and extremely addictive. A beautiful cocktail both for the eyes and tastebuds. The gentle balance of flavours was perfect.
Our first dish to whet our appetite is the Soba Noodle Salad. Again, didn’t notice it on the menu online – but if you can, definitely give this one a try. Delicious flavours and filling.
Har Gow. The difference here is really in the carotene used to turn this shrimp dumpling into a vibrant dish. Same great taste you would expect from a dim sum restaurant, the shrimp is made perfect with whole chunks and cooked to a happy done. While the skin is not as translucent due to it’s orange colour, it is fresh and still ‘snaps back’.
Siu Mai – Another classic dim sum dish amplified with the addition of truffle on top. Although this ‘siu’ mai is made with chicken, I’d definitely prefer it this way. The truffle gives it a nice twist to the taste you’re used to.
Chicken Cheung Fun. I don’t know why but I thought this would be a noodle dish (I’m still slowly trying to learn some Cantonese, and clearly it’s failing me!). But I was happy to see it was not because this is one of my favourite dim sum dishes. Not that I’ve had anything specifically like this before, but I’m used to the crispy Chinese donut in rice wrap. But this is completely a different experience. It’s got tofu, chicken and had a bit of green onion and ginger sprinkled on the top. It’s soft and crunchy – and in my books, you can never go wrong with crispy, deep fried food.
Crispy Taro & Turnip Cake. I have to say that for the most part, I never really enjoy this dish at dim sum, mostly because it’s either too crumbly or way too greasy. At Luckee’s, again it’s elevated. It holds it shape perfectly and is not greasy at all. It’s a little darker than I’m used to, but I’d much prefer this over the traditional type.
Ah, finally the mains. Yep, that was just the start of our food adventure that evening! But thankfully, all dishes are share dishes, so it wasn’t a huge task for a couple of food writers and bloggers.
Luckee Duck. Chinese pancakes, apple, cucumber, leek and cranberry relish. Again, another popular Chinese dish but served with interesting flavours – green apple was the most intriguing to me. It brought a tartness to a usually heavy dish, which cleaned the palate quite nicely and brightened it.
HK Style Steamed Sea Bass. Okay, another dish that I usually avoid at family gatherings – mostly because I hate having to pick out bones – or if it’s deboned, it’s never really cooked properly. They take those two objections out here at Luckee. It is deboned and it’s cooked so that it’s not overcooked. Mushrooms were an interesting addition to the dish.
Wok Fried Garlic Broccoli. Another popular dish in Chinese cooking! Great but definitely just a staple with nothing too crazy to write home about.
Two Way Shanghai Ham – Osmanthus honey, mustard, crispy tofu skin. I’m not really sure I’ve had anything like this anywhere else – but the concept is fairly popular, served with a steam bun – you enjoy the ham and it’s toppings in a Chinese-style “taco” shell. While innovative and had great elements of texture, I would say I preferred our other mains to this one.
Szechuan Kung Pao Shrimp with cashew nuts. I need someone to explain to me what I just ate because it felt like I just ate a piece of heaven. What a flavour explosion. It wasn’t super hot but I just felt like I was hit with a 1-2 jab. It was a pleasant shock and very welcoming, as most of our meals in Toronto didn’t really hit me as overwhelming in flavour like Luckee did.
Wok Fried Green Beans – another traditional dish in Chinese cooking. The best part was definitely the nice heat that came off of the peppers it was stir fried with.
And then dessert came.
Chocolate Sponge Roll. What I love about Chinese desserts is that they are not overly sweet like many other cultures. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sweets but sometimes it’s nice to have something that is just right. The chocolate sponge roll is the heaviest I feel on the dessert platter, being moist and slathered in chocolate.
Ginger Tart. Ginger??? I love ginger in small doses but I was very weary in trying this tart. But I was completely wrong – this tasty tart really helped clean the palate and had just a nice hint of ginger. Perfect.
Mango Pudding – I’m not going to lie, this was my favourite part of the dessert platter. Mango always does it for me.
Meringue & Berries were spread throughout the dish for a beautiful, complete look.
If you live in Toronto, or even if you’re visiting – you definitely should check out Luckee, it holds it’s own as a world class restaurant!
Please note my meal was comped, but all opinions are my own.
Check out their website here: http://luckeerestaurant.com/