Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mr. Chow Revistited

Philippe. Restaurant. 60th Street between Madison and Park Avenues.

Philippe boasts being the new, hipper Mr. Chow. Well it’s definitely new. The space has been renovated into a stark black and white subterranean spot that is surprisingly welcoming and intimate at first glance.

The bar in the front was packed with a plethora of chic twenty-something’s and the men who love them, art industry types and the flippant fashionistas. Ray Charles crooned in the background giving it a contemporary character (read: Jaime Foxx) compared to the oppressive “eighties” vibe of its predecessor (read: Jean-Michel Basquiat). Advertising tycoon Donny Deutsch with appropriate arm candy stormed in and was led straight to his assigned table. Our group of chic twenty-something’s waited for our table like the rest of the fashionable plebeians.

Once seated, we waited. We waited for the wine list. We waited for the water. We waited for the wine. We waited for the appetizers. We waited for the entrees. We waited for the bill.

We spent this free time people-watching – in fact, I think this was the chosen activity of the evening. I definitely had my awkward moments of staring into another’s eyes and then looking away to another interesting table as I wondered where our wine could possibly be. Other than the horrendous service (the waiters seemed to think the whole ordeal was amusing), the meal was excellent.

Bottom line. Come here for the food and the people watching. The squab with lettuce wraps were flaweless. The famous chicken skewers lived up to their reputation with a tangy peanut sauce that wasn’t at all to “creamy” like the menu described. The crispy beef was a little more on the “crispy” side but delicious. Our only criticism was the Drunken Sea Bass that came overcooked and drowned in a sugary sauce that rivaled Aunt Jemima. Tip: Try the Gavi wine – goes perfectly with all of the above.

Final word: Once this place works out the kinks, I’ll definitely come back. Til then…

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