Best chef without boundaries: Susur Lee, Shang

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It's rare to come across a chef who defies classification. Toronto's Susur Lee is one of them. The celebrity chef's recent Gotham debut (an admittedly bumpy ride) has introduced us to his singular style of globalized Chinese food. The sheer number of small plates on his menu is about as impressive as their ambitious yet playful execution: A supremely light foie gras and chicken-liver pt is spread on scallion pancakes; diver scallops and chorizo commingle in bamboo-leaf--steamed rice. Comfortable with a range of flavor profiles—from Jamaican to Mediterranean to whatever he wants, really—Lee fashions visually arresting, thought-provoking creations that are all his own. Thompson LES Hotel, Shang 187 Orchard St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-260-7999)

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