The Toronto Sun chats up Susur Lee in his giant year-old LES restaurant Shang and tries to find out why it never became the huge hit some thought it would be. Lee begins by saying that a lot of it has to do with the crap economy, "If I say everything is great, I’m lying to you. In New York, people are still driven by money and they don’t want to show off their money in expensive restaurants right now. They feel the pressure." Okay, fair enough (we guess). How about his next reason? "New Yorkers were perhaps not ready for his avant-garde Chinese food." Lee, noting that New Yorkers are more traditional eaters than counterparts in Toronto, continues:
No matter how creative you are, if they don’t understand, they won’t come. Tradition is really important here...People won’t go for chicken feet no matter how many truffles you stuff in there...It’s a question of culture. On Asian cuisine they are not that advanced.Ah, so that's why New York diners aren't clamoring for resys at Shang. Lee notes that diners in Toronto are much more "daring" while China has the best food scene right now.
It's probably not the right way to woo diners back, but hey, two points for honesty.
· T.O. Icon Tackles New York [TS]