Philippe Chow, a couture Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side, is an interesting concept in itself. After all, ask any Chinese person and they will tell you that you should never pay expensively for good traditional Chinese food. So how does Philippe compare to the more traditional, if less fancy restaurants of China Town?
Philippe Chow, once the head chef of Mr. Chow (which was opened by Michael Chow, no relation) took a chance and opened his own Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side. The restaurant is in motifs of black and white with dim mood lighting and three rooms available–a bar, dining room, and private room. It’s also interesting to note that though this is a Chinese restaurant, there is no part of the decor that hints to that heritage save for some black bamboo in the windows. In fact, the style of the place is a little reminiscent of a high class version of an American restaurant in the 60’s. The servers are in white coat tails, and the service is fast and attentive.
But let’s move on to what’s really at stake here: the food. The food, I can safely say, is good. And it should be if the patrons are paying 3 times more than they would for a traditional Chinese meal. The good news is that Philippe’s is authentic, and the drinks are creative and tasty, albeit a little pricey–almost $20 per cocktail. For entrees, we sampled three: lettuce wraps with shrimp, garlic scallops with bell peppers, and of course, the creme de la creme of any Chinese restaurant, the Peking duck ($75).
The Peking Duck was brought out and sliced in front of you, which was nice to see. It came with plum duck sauce, thin flour wraps, and green onions, customary of any Chinese place that serves Peking Duck. The duck itself was great, cooked the perfect amount, and really the only thing I had that night that was almost worth its price. This Upper East Side eatery is catered to a particular clientele for sure, but let me just share a secret with you: the food at Philippe is no different than the food you can get in Chinatown for $15. So whether you go uptown to Philippe’s or order in depends on how you wish to experience this amazing cuisine!