Did The Top Chef Master’s Restaurant Meet My Expectations?
I’m addicted to Top Chef. Always have been, and I have a feeling always will be. I must say though, I love Top Chef Masters even more. All the dishes look amazing no matter what because the caliber of talent on this show is so high, and everyone is already so accomplished. I’m in complete awe of all the contestants. So can I just tell you how excited I was to be eating at Shang in downtown New York City? The chef of this Pan-Asian restaurant is Susur Lee. Not only was he a contestant on Top Chef Masters, but he even won one of the episodes. Susar has a ridiculous and celebrated background when it comes to cooking, just check out his Wikipedia bio. And judging from the episode, he looks like a really awesome guy to hang out with.
I walked up an elegant flight of stairs to get to his restaurant and found myself in a beautifully decorated restaurant. Spacious booths, simple art and modern furniture. The interior design was much more pleasing than my overall dinner was though.
For cocktails I sampled a Shang Caipirinha made with cachaca, fresh lime, lychee and tarragon. It was tasty and stayed true to the taste of a real caipirinha. My second drink of the evening was the Thai Lemonade that I asked to be served as a martini. Don’t think for a second that this was a sweet concoction. Made from gin, basil, lemon juice and black peppercorn that infuse the drink beautifully, it was a tart drink that I found very satisfying.
And then came our food for the night:
Singapore Slaw: a massive salad made from 19 ingredients, some of which were fried taro, peanuts, carrots and 3 types of microgreens. I’ve never tasted anything quite like this blend. While I’ve sampled similar dishes, the combination of all of these flavors was fantastic and very unique. I must mention that it was slightly overdressed and oily, but a must try.
Sashimi platter: a complete let down. It was simply average and I really wish that my date and I didn’t order it. We didn’t even want to finish it.
Beef satay with penang peanut sauce and chili mint chutney: As a whole it was good, but not amazing. Though I must mention that the beef was very tender, probably the most tender beef satay I have ever had.
Cantonese wok fried pearl noodles with shrimp: This could have been a good dish, but something definitely went haywire. Eat bite of the shrimp felt as if I were take a shot of rice wine. The alcohol flavor was way too strong. We couldn’t eat anymore of the shrimp after a couple of bites. The noodles were nice and homemade, a bit chewy, but decent.
Overall, I’m happy that I got to try Susur Lee’s restaurant, but I don’t plan on going back, let alone recommending it to anyone. For someone of his reputation I expected a lot more. We were so disappointed in our dinner that we didn’t even stay for dessert.
One other downfall of the restaurant was the menu. Nothing on the dinner or dessert menu excited me and made me feel that I had to try it. It was a bit on the boring side. But then I went home and made myself a Jameson Manhattan to end my night on a better note. Woohoo, John Jameson and Son!
5 out of 10