While there are plenty of excellent restaurants already open and operating in NYC, there are a few in the offing that I am very excited about and will plan to get to as soon as I can.
The first is Shang, Susur Lee's entry into New York City. I first ate Susur's cooking at his eponymous restaurant, Susur, in Toronto earlier this decade with my wife and eldest son, who was twelve at the time. This was his first foray into exotic haute cuisine and it was a home run, one of the most memorable and enjoyable meals in all of our lives so far. That restaurant was known for an unorthodox approach to serving food with heartier dishes leading to lighter ones as the meal progressed rather than the usual reverse mode of appetizers leading to heartier main courses.While that approach may not have revolutionized the industry, it worked there. Susur Lee's cooking leans heavily, but not exclusively on his native Chinese traditions. He takes those traditions and influences and bends them to his own unique approach with great flavor and visual appeal. In addition, he happens to be a really nice guy. At that same dinner, he took the time to show my son how best to eat certain dishes and then took us all on a tour of the kitchen. My son's interest in and enjoyment of his meal at Susur convinced me that he was ready for more. The following fall I took him on a culinary tour of Sicily, where we first learned of Slow Food. The result is that he has become a fan of all kinds of good food. My other sons, though not present at that particular meal, have benefited indirectly by following in their older brother's footsteps. His experience at Susur and beyond has made it easier for my wife and I to take the same approach with them. I am particularly looking forward to taking them to Shang, which is located in the Thompson LES Hotel at 187 Orchard St.,
New York, NY 10002.
It is set to open on December 8th.
The other restaurant I am awaiting patiently is George Mendes' pan-Iberian influenced Aldea. George,
an alumnus of a number of top-end NYC restaurants including Bouley and most recently Toqueville, is finally set to open his own place. While I have not yet eaten his food, I have seen how he runs a kitchen and the respect he gets from fellow chefs. George ran the demonstration prep kitchen for the first two years of the Starchefs International Chefs Congress maintaining control and keeping it flowing smoothly all the while working with many of the top chefs in the world and keeping them happy. He was smooth and sure. In addition, his knowledge of Iberian culinary traditions is strong, particularly that of the Portuguese, his own ethnic background. I have no doubt that his kitchen will be well run and his food delicious. The restaurant is located at 31 W. 17th St.,
New York, NY 10011. Unfortunately, it appears that it will not be opening before February.
There is a third restaurant on the horizon of interest to me. That is the restaurant being planned by Spain's Dr. Miguel Sanchez Romera, who reportedly shut his restaurant, L'Esguard, on the Costa Brava of Catalunya in order to open a restaurant in NYC. Romera's cuisine is unique and as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat. It will be interesting to see how his style of cooking translates to NYC.