Sherman's Food Adventures: Bar Susu

Bar Susu

If you've followed me for at least the last 3 years, you'll know my love for Published on Main.  Hence, I am completely not surprised that they have received a multitude of awards and distinctions since they opened.  So when the same ownership group added Bar Susu where the The Whip used to be located, I was anxiously wanting to visit the place.  Well, after a few near-visits, we finally made it down to check the place out.  Now don't expect the place to be Published, as it is a bit more lively with a youthful energy.  The menu is much smaller, yet, as they name implies, a larger focus on beverages.

We started things off with the Shishito Peppers with furikake and Maggi mayo.  These were blistered and on the softer side.  The amount of furikake was quite aggressive, but that meant there was no absence of impact and spice.  Naturally, shishitos are rather mild, but a few of them were hot.  It was fun guessing which one was spicy in a Doritos Roulette manner.  Loved the Maggi mayo as it was full of umami.  Wished we had more of it though.  The puffed rice on top added a nice crunch.

Next, I had the Chicken Liver Rosette with cherry confiture and pickled rutabaga.  The key word here is "I" because they serve these individually.  Since I am the only one that love chicken liver, we only ordered one.  I loved the crispiness of the rosette where it was filled with creamy and flavourful chicken liver mousse.  It was sweet with definite chicken liver taste and cognac.  Pickled rutabaga on top provided some tang to lighten things up.

Topped with sunchoke crisps and parsley, the Beef Tartare had a particularly Asian influence with citrus kosho dressing and tobiko.  I enjoyed the pops of the tobiko that helped break up the smooth texture of the beef.  The tartare itself was bright with balanced acidity.  Eating the tartare by itself was delicious enough and impactful.  I thought the nori sheets on the side were a bit too strong tasting and took away from the beautiful tartare.  I would've liked to see shrimp chips or any other tapioca-based chip as a better vessel.

Featuring cute jicama dinos, the Dinosaur Kale Salad was well-dressed with miso citrus.  The tender strips of kale were full-flavoured due to the dressing.  Once again, another dish with noted acidity and impact.  There was plenty of comt√© cheese on top to provide nuttiness.  Rather than using a harder cheese, the salad was less salty (which was a good thing).  I absolutely loved the Japanese rice crackers as they provided a light and slightly salty crunch.

My absolute favourite dish of the meal had to be the Hot Smoked Trout atop spinach gomaae and dashi butter.  So buttery and soft, the trout really did melt-in-my-mouth.  No chewing necessary!  Beyond that, the smoke was just enough to provide a background essence without overwhelming the delicate fish.  Not too sweet, the gomaae provided an aromatic nuttiness.  This was further complimented by the rich and silky dashi butter that also had an herbaceous finish.  To literally top it off, the crispy fish skin provided the necessary textural contrast.

If the trout was my favourite, the Sablefish was a very close second.  Although sablefish can be very forgiving, the cook on it was perfect though.  It was buttery and flaky while being lightly torched.  The fish itself was well-seasoned, but the tomato butter really put it over-the-top.  We could really taste the essence of tomato and it broke up the heaviness of the butter.  There was barley in the sauce and it added some chew and texture.  Maitake mushrooms and seaweed provided both earthiness and umami to the dish.

Our last savoury item was the Pork Collar with miso, pumpkin orange puree and sauteed Swiss chard & chanterelles.  The pork was properly seasoned and prepared perfectly with just a bit of pink.  It was juicy and tender with a classic bounce texture.  I thought the puree was very bright due to the orange and it was the predominant flavour.  Also well-seasoned, the Swiss chard was cooked just enough and benefited from the deliciousness of the mushrooms.

Onto dessert, we had the Chocolate Mousse filled with cherry and accompanied by butterscotch.  The thing that really elevated the impact was the sprinkle of fleur de sel.  It heightened both the sweetness of the butterscotch and the intensity of the chocolate.  We would've liked even more of it!  Beyond the creamy mousse, the sweet tang of the cherries provided layers of flavour.  Some crunch in the middle added texture.  Even though Bar Susu is its own restaurant, it is hard to not have some comparisons to its older sister restaurant.  Is it as good as Published?  Well, that is not a fair question since they are not the same in many ways.  I would say Bar Susu is good and the old wood building has real charm.  Personally, I would eat at Published first, but I am not opposed to returning to Bar Susu either.

The Good:
- The building has real charm
- Service is attentive
- Food is generally good

The Bad:
- Menu is a bit limited, but the focus is not only on food here

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