Monday, January 26, 2015

Chow Dynasty

Practice your chopsticks for Philippe

Dress up for date night Chinese at Philippe, an ultra high-end WeHo outpost of the New York original.

A strict black, white and red color scheme evokes both slick 21st century Shanghai modernism and 1930s Hollywood. Basically, it looks like the set of a White Stripes video (the busboys even sport bright red Chuck Taylors).

Chef Philippe Chow (capitalizing on the confusion with Manhattan's Mr. Chow, where he formerly cooked) dishes out modern Asian standards available at his other locations. A savory veal bean sauce boosts simple homemade rice noodles up to a filling entree. Chicken satay skewers marinate in carrot juice before getting smothered in a creamy peanut gravy. Beijing chicken is so sticky and sweet, it's practically a dessert.

The showstopper is Peking duck, carved tableside and served with thin pancakes. Call ahead: It takes 45 minutes to prepare, and while it's not cheap ($75 for a 7-lb. bird; $55 for 4 lbs.), it's worth the hype, especially if you’re sharing with friends.

No need to indulge in the fair-if-not-phenomenal desserts, but with snarky messages like “Your lover is faking it,” and “Crowded elevators always smell different to midgets,” you’d be remiss to pass up the fortune cookies.

The Rundown's restaurant reviews are based on anonymous visits by reporters, not press releases.

8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood (323) 951-1100

Price: 4 (out of 4) Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Parking: $4.50 valet
Scene: Double-dating yuppies and occasional big names dining to Billboard Top 40 hits of yore.
Best bets: Peking duck; chicken satay; rice noodles in veal sauce
Hot seat: Snag a semi-circular booth up front to see and be seen.
Chow cheaper: Bottled wines and up-selling waiters are budget-busters. Stick to the left side of the menu and resist the urge to over-order, or drop only $20 for 3-course lunch (Mon-Sat 12n-4p).
Nearby: Village Idiot; Eva; The Grove

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