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Susur's new NYC place - reviewed in NY Magazine

KitchenVoodoo Feb 21, 2009 01:07 PM

Two stars.....


  1. jayt90 Feb 21, 2009 01:21 PM

    Susar's Shang got panned by Frank Bruni in the Times. http://events.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/...

    4 Replies
    1. re: jayt90
      KitchenVoodoo Feb 21, 2009 03:15 PM

      NYC is brutal for restuarant survival - sad that Susur got off to such a shaky start with the critics - but being located in a hotel, in a sketchy area....... and having do dish up both Chinese and Western food from the same kitchen? I thought he was going to have his own independent restuarant in NYC.

      1. re: KitchenVoodoo
        goodcookiedrift Feb 23, 2009 12:31 PM

        I would hardly call that area "sketchy". 10 - 15 years ago? Maybe. Now, it's more like The Selby-esque types that hang out on Ludlow. Can we say Hipster Ground Zero? And the Thompson is pretty damn chic when it comes to boutique hotels.

      2. re: jayt90
        aser Feb 21, 2009 05:07 PM

        Bruni isn't much of a fan of Asian cuisine imo, other than sushi. He panned Wakiya too

        The area has been gentrified for a while, like Queen west west. Within 5 min walking distance you'll have places like Prune, Allen & Delancey, Katz, Russ & Daughters. Lots of good food options.

        This thread will surely get moved by the moderhaters soon...

        1. re: aser
          scoopG Feb 25, 2009 04:40 PM

          Not true. Big thumbs up and 3.5 stars from Frank for Szechuan Gourmet in Manhattan.
          I think the problem with Wakiya was perhaps similar to what excel says about Sasur: too complicated and you can't see the trees - the forest is in the way.

      3. e
        excel Feb 23, 2009 03:33 PM

        I'm not surprised that he didn't get good reviews. I don't think susur was that great when he was here. He's a avg/good chef at best. There are better place to eat in Canada, let alone NYC. I think that Susur would only be avg in the Van market (which I consider a more foodie town than Toronto). I have to agree with Bruni, his style is way to complicated and mid 90's. I also found the Susurs execution is a bit hit or miss, somethings are briliant and others are below average.

        I wish him the best of luck. I hope he learns a bit of humility and learn from his mistakes but, I doubt it. He couldn't do it here, what would suggest that he would change?

        7 Replies
        1. re: excel
          LTL Feb 25, 2009 10:49 AM

          Can you elaborate on these "mistakes"? Genuinely curious as I've never been to either Susur or Lee.

          1. re: excel
            Bueno Feb 25, 2009 11:39 AM

            I agree. What Susur does well is promote. People are always talking about him, whether good or bad. He's always on people's minds. Some want to eat at his restaurants because they love his cuisine and the dining experience he tries to create, while others are curious and motivated by these raves and make a reservation to try it for themselves and end up be disappointed. He is very inconsistent. Some services are spot-on and the flavours are bright and vibrant, while others are a shit-show with retarded staff and food without any vibrancy. More specifically, some DISHES are phenomenal, while even more dishes are mediocre at best. The whole experience is like playing the lottery. He can't cut it in New York. He doesn't have the chops. It's as simple as that. But contending this reality are all the fanboys and fangirls that have won the Susur lottery when they've dined there and ended up with a positive experince , and it's causing a buzz. Again, people are talking about Shang, and people are making reservations. How long it'll last... my guess is not very long. New Yorkers don't have patience when it comes to their restaurant scene.

            1. re: Bueno
              excel Feb 25, 2009 03:44 PM

              Mistakes? It's been awhile since I was there but, I fondly remember that some of his Demi-glace sauces had film on top, I assume its from sitting out too long before service. Some dishes were also luke warm. He was in the kitchen that night too. I also remember that none of his flavors were particularly good or special, best thing we had that night was a vintage wine they recent got at auction. I do recall that the venison we had was cooked well but, the rest of the plate (filmy demi glace and choy) was lackluster. For a fine dining experience, it was a total let down. If I compared Susur to Gordon Ramsey (Hospital Road), restaurant wise. they're in 2 totally different categories. Gordon Ramsey knows how to do fine dinning, service and food is impeccable, a totally different experience to Susur. Even if I compare Susur to Rob Feenie (when he was at his restaurant) the flavour of Feenie's dishes were way superior. It's like Susur was a few stages behind in his progression to being a chef. I though Feenie was a chef and Susur was learning to be one. In fact I thought the flavours at Rain were better and so was the direction of their dishes.

              Hope that's not too harsh but, it is my honest opinion of my experience. Nothing against Susur at all.

              1. re: excel
                condiment Feb 26, 2009 02:35 PM

                For pretty much his entire career, in Singapore as well as in Canada, Susur Lee has depended on Western customers who don't really understand Chinese cooking and Chinese customers who don't really understand Western cooking. He is very good at plating food attractively, less successful at cooking it.

                BTW, I really, really hate Gordon Ramsey on Hospital Road, which may be correct but commits the unforgivable crime of being dull beyond imagine.

                1. re: condiment
                  excel Feb 26, 2009 05:17 PM

                  Are you referring to the food or atmosphere? Did you go after the reno or before? I find the new decor to have improve the place, made it lighter and not so up tight. Also, I find that it take a while for the room to liven up because it's small and most people seemed to be worried about others being around.

                  In terms of food, I have to agree with what PMW said about Ramsey, he's great technically but, you can't name a signature dish from him. With that said, he's light years ahead of Susur as a chef

            2. re: excel
              KayceeK Feb 27, 2009 09:37 AM

              I've dined at some great restaurants and found the evening spent at Susur was one of my most memorable; possibly THE most memorable meal I've ever experienced. That said, I think the company you keep and the reason for celebrating add so much to a dining experience, and our Susurian adventure was a wedding present from close friends, so that may have clouded my judgement of the actual food calibre.

              1. re: KayceeK
                excel Feb 27, 2009 02:26 PM

                I was there with my gf and I had a bad meal so, what does that tell you?? LOL

                Seriously, you make a great point. With that said, I'm not sure if it would have made a difference if I was at dinner with the PM or President - I guess if I wasn't paying attention to what I was eating, I might have let things slide a bit more.

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