Star chef, next generation: the sons of renowned chef Susur Lee and interior designer Brenda Bent have opened the hotly anticipated restaurant Bent
A marquee-style blinking arrow sign announces the family’s settlement on Dundas West. With Dad developing the menu and mom the design, Levi and Kai Bent-Lee are running the front of house, and by all accounts doing admirably.
Inside, floor-to-ceiling shiny white subway tiles are a counterpoint to hits of Bent’s, and her design partner, Karen Gable’s, vintage eclectic design. A miniature plastic pastoral setting watched over by a pink cartoon mouse is nestled in a glass terrarium below the hostess station. Vintage Japanese pachinko machines are embedded within the rusty-red pegboard wall behind the bar, which the bartender and sushi chef share. The whole back wall is consumed by a swath of wooden letterpress storage trays arranged with miniature toys Bent and Gable have collected from cereal boxes and gumball machines.
Gleaming lacquered wooden tables, painted to resemble board games, with church bench seating at once elegant and warm, are perfect for getting down to business and ordering from a menu filled with small, satisfying plates from the raw bar and hot kitchen: tangy duck salad topped with sweet bean pesto ($15), chipotle-spiked smoked cod tacos ($15), tuna and watermelon ceviche marinated in red onion and citrus ($15), crisp Japanese pickles with a mustard/jalapeno kick ($5), braised short ribs with a side of mash and gravy ($22). Nothing is off the mark.
Kick things off with an Asian-inspired Bloody Caesar ($16), then veer into the sake-charged bar menu (best bet: the house blend – an Izumi sake – custom-crafted by local distillery Ontario Spring Water Sake company).
777 Dundas St W 647 352 0092 TUE-SAT 5:30-1
Originally published in our Winter 2012 issue.