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Brunibetting: Shang

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Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Susur Lee's New York City debut Shang at the Thompson LES hotel. Today, the Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows:

Zero Stars: 6-1
One Star: 3-1 ??
Two Stars: 4-1
Three Stars: 20-1
Four Stars: 250-1

We think Ryan Sutton said it best when he proclaimed, in his review of Shang, "It's hard to aim high when slaw seems to be your signature dish." Overwhelmingly, that's the one dish getting the praise here. As for everything else, it's been called, by a whole slew of critics, "clever," "overworked," "eclectic," but rarely "delicious" or, more importantly to the Brunz, a good "value."

And so, this is where we'll cross off the possibilities of a three or four star outing. If Bruni is feeling the high-concept menu, doesn't mind the prices, and isn't upsold too often by the staff, we could have a deuce on our hands. But it need be remembered that Bruni's high hopes for a great, high-end Chinese restaurant—one that could give "Chinese food the kind of treatment that French, Italian and Japanese routinely receive"—is what led to the crushing blow he delivered to Wakiya in fall '07. We doubt he'll drop the goose-egg, but a similarly devastating one star sendup is not out of the question. In fact, given his proclivities and the consensus amongst his colleagues, that's the bet we're taking.
· Shang [NYT; after 8:00 PM]
?? denotes the Eater bet.

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