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Photos by Mark Blinch for The Globe and Mail. Read Chris Nuttall-Smith's full review of Fring's here.
The business is a partnership with chef Susur Lee, the designer Brenda Bent and their sons, Kai and Levi Bent-Lee, who also run Bent restaurant on Dundas Street West. The Lee-Bent-Bent-Lee family provides the cooking, the design and the management, and Drake provides his aura from afar. Shockingly, perhaps, the place isn’t bad. It’s exactly what a modern, downtown Toronto theme restaurant and bar should be.
Drake became a restaurateur last fall in classic Drake fashion. There was no announcement and no preopening hype – just a star-packed party at the end of September in the former Crush Wine Bar on King Street West, with October’s Very Own, as Drake and his crew are known, in the DJ booth, spinning for the night. Fring’s, as the place is called, has been packed with would-be groupies almost ever since.
Fring’s is a Susur Lee restaurant. Susur Lee is merely a figurehead lately – if his hands are still able, you would hardly have cause to know. The menu he’s created at Fring’s is the menu of a newly graduated culinary student, a month or two out of George Brown chef school. It is good in spots and less good in others, but either way, it isn’t even remotely the work of a once world-leading innovator. Does that matter? It probably doesn’t. That Susur Lee is the putative chef here is all but irrelevant to the experience of being at Fring’s.