Last night Gourmet magazine held a big party at the soon-to-open Shang, a new restaurant helmed by the acclaimed, formerly Toronto-based chef Susur Lee. In an uncharacteristically non-restaurant world domineering move, Lee closed his Toronto flagship restaurant (called Susur) in May in order to concentrate fully on his New York opening. Shang, which means growing upwards, will open next month.
Maybe 50 or 60 of the city’s top chefs came out to greet Lee last night. Daniel Boulud and Dan Barber made the rounds as selections from a twelve-item menu were passed through the crowd. Food reflected Lee’s eclectic style: Perfectly medium rare lamb chops were served with carrot, cardamom and banana tempura, for example. Elsewhere, slices of duck breast rolled around black vinegar and chili-dressed vegetables were served spiked on with a spicy disk of nut caramel.
Also at the Shang party was Craig Hopson, the newly minted chef of Le Cirque. A smiling Bobby Flay, whose Iron Chef battle with Susur Lee two years ago resulted in a tie, was also in attendance. Madhur Jaffrey came late and congratulated Lee as he made his way through the crowd. Jaffrey is a legendary cook, known mostly for having brought Indian food to a Western readership, much in the same way Julia Child once turned the American palate away from casseroles, and to cassoulet.
Susur Lee is still planning Shang’s final menu. In Toronto, he famously served a reverse degustation menu, where the flavor profiles of courses got lighter and less complex as the meal progressed. Shang is located in the Thompson LES Hotel.
Shang // 187 Orchard Street // No phone yet.