Through a tornado of lawsuits from former boss Mr. Chow and one Porky’s star-turned-bartender later, Philippe Chow will grand open tomorrow on Melrose in West Hollywood in the old Dolce space, nearly three miles from the famous name it kinda, sorta borrowed. A glam import from Miami and New York, Philippe’s club-like digs are sexy in stark black, with cream-colored accents. We might be just as titillated by our glance at Philippe’s menu of upscale Chinese food, that is, if we were still looking forward to Michael J. Fox’s big screen turn in Back to the Future.
Yes, the menu screams mid-80’s Beverly Hills to us, with dressed up versions of Chinese classics we can find for less, and definitely giving the same vibes that Mr. Chow has provided since the 70’s. While probably served family-style, should sweet and sour chicken ever run over 40 bucks? An army of 60-dollar prawn plates also marches through the entree selection with non-exotics like good old “jade dumplings” standing out on a menu of boring standards. Unlike Mr. Michael Chow, whom Philippe Chow, nee Chak Yam Chau, worked for for 25 years, Philippe’s menu fails to get us excited, filled with dishes we’ve seen plenty of in the past.
And while we haven’t paid a visit since Dan Quayle was misspelling potato, Mr. Chow’s menu still reads much better today, with ventures into beef tongue, lamb shank, and spicy buffalo preparations, which Philippe does not attempt to appropriate. Philippe does throw one or two things at us that arouse curiosity, like a seven-pound Peking duck and supposedly “famous” chicken satay skewers we’d like to put to the test. There’s also a $20.99 three-course lunch special being launched in the early days that sounds like a reasonable opportunity to judge with our tongues.
In the end, we predict Philippe Chow will show up a lot in our celebrity settings feature, but fail to be a culinary landmark. You can see Philippe’s menu on their website and decide for yourself whether Michael Chow should have his eggrolls in such a twist over this competitor. Phillipe Chow, 8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046.