Critical Mass: Shang

Last week our own Sarah DiGregorio reviewed Shang (17 Orchard Street), the first New York project from acclaimed Hong Kong-born chef Susur Lee. She noted that "Shang has all the trappings of a middling hotel restaurant" with waiters always trying to upsell, overpriced cocktails, and a predictably sleek interior, but that "several items [on the menu] succeed flamboyantly" while still others "taste like they came from a Trader Joe's freezer." Most other critics seem to be sharing her mixed view of the place; a critical roundup of Shang is after the jump.

Two Stars
"Is Shang a great restaurant? Not really. The setting is too prosaic, and the location too far off the beaten track. But in this cold, recessionary winter, when established dining empires are pulling in their horns and new ones are desperately turning out glorified cheeseburgers and bowls of noodle soup, it's refreshing to see the arrival of an experienced and talented chef who's not afraid to reach for the stars."
-Adam Platt, New York

"The fact is, Lee is a really good cook who's too clever for his own good sometimes. You can see it in the jerk chicken. He takes a Jamaican dish, applies a French technique -- roulade -- and sprinkles in a few Chinese accents. The result, international warfare."
-Danyelle Freeman, NY Daily News

One Star
"And for the most part, there's nothing really wrong with the food, but alas, Shang is about as exciting as Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, which is to say not very. I didn't experience any tongue-numbing excitement like at New York's peppercorn-studded Spicy & Tasty or Grand Sichuan Eastern. There are no life- changing dumplings like those miracles at Chinatown Brasserie. Shang bills itself as 'global Chinese.' I bill it as dumbed down 'hotel Chinese.'"
-Ryan Sutton, Bloomberg




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