187 Orchard St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-260-7900
The world of Chinese fusion food is littered with all sorts of conspicuous culinary disasters. Which is why, when we visit Susur Lee’s new restaurant, down on Orchard Street, we choose to ignore obvious Westernized attempts at synthesis, like the tepidly cooked “Mongolian” lamb chops. We focus instead on the talented Chinese-Canadian chef’s intricately rendered, classically Asian combinations, like feathery taro puff dim sum stuffed with spicy curried beef, and that Cantonese delicacy fried turnip cake, which is dressed here with soft baby eggplant, fermented black beans, and shiitake mushrooms. We like the soft potato dumplings, too, which are drizzled with Swatow chile, and the fat scallops wrapped in banana leaves with sticky deposits of “8 Treasure” rice. And did we mention Lee’s towering signature “Singapore Slaw,” a dish that contains nineteen ingredients and ingeniously combines the complexity of banquet-style Chinese cooking with the intrinsic freshness of Southeast Asian cuisine.
A Shang Slideshow and the Full Menu
Best Cutting-edge Chinese
From the 2009 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).