Written by Hulda Lawrence
Philippe at 33 East 60th Street (212) 664-8885 has provided exceptional Chinese cuisine for those who appreciate Chef Chow's classic approach. We entered the restaurant and were guided to the rear where comfortable chairs awaited, in a welcoming greeting. Although the restaurant has a private wine cellar its main dining area seats 250. With our menus we were given a list of prominent diners who have patronized the location. Here are just a few who enjoyed the atmosphere and food: Al Gore, Darryl Strawberry, Oprah, Lady Gaga, George Clooney and of course, President Barack Obama.
Monday through Saturday Philippe Chow specializes in a Power Lunch at $20.01 for eight guests or less. With a martini it is $29. There is a choice of appetizers, such as House Salad, Hot and Sour Soup, Chicken Satay, Chicken Lettuce Wraps or Crispy Seaweed. The main course is Beijing Chicken, Crispy Beef, Velvet Chicken or Crispy Salmon. Sorbet or ice cream is provided for dessert.
As diners who prefer a la carte we selected two satays with Chef Chow's fine cream sauces. Our choices were chicken and shrimp. Our wines were Shiraz, Mandra Rossa Italy and Pinot Grigio Feriga Italy. While we awaited our satays we enjoyed Mango Iced Tea and a Philipptini, both made with Absolute vodka. Philippe Passion, Black Dragon and Espresso Martini are just some of the special drinks available. Prices for the specialty drinks are $13 to $19. Wines range from $9 to $20, for Champagne. A la carte entrees which we ordered and appreciated were Pink Prawns, $64 for two, with ginger and sweet and sour sauce; and White Prawns with Egg White sauce at the same price. This dish was exceptionally delicious. Other entrees which are served family style for two or three persons include Drunken Sea Bass, American Black Bass or Crispy Duck at $60 with two housemade pancakes. It takes 45 minutes to prepare them. Chef Chow also prepares a set of steamed foods which are considered most healthy. Lobster, fish and chicken are the specialties. Desserts are Red Velvet Cake and Peanut Butter Tart. The food was fine and the sauces were marvelous.
Chef Philippe Chow has a number of restaurants here, in New York, Miami, Hollywood, East Hampton and Jericho.
Traffic is a bar and restaurant in Hell's Kitchen, 701 Ninth Avenue and 48th Street (212) 837-2702. This place has a "sister" on the East Side at 986 Second Avenue and 53rd Street, (212) 813-1595. We entered a huge place with tremendous TVs in two rooms. This place is open to the street and diners can appreciate the outside, but the noise level is strong.
From the appetizers we selected Mango Crab, done with fresh lump crabmeat, ripe mango, avocado salad with a vinaigrette sauce. It was a delicious start and its cost was $12. Other appetizers include Shrimp Portobella, Fried Cheese, Beet and Bleu Cheese Salad, Open-Faced Tofu and Spicy Calamari. Prices for the appetizers are $8 to $12. There are a number of popular cocktails: Kingston Cabbie for my companion and a Traffic drink for me. A group of entree salads are also available with such stars as Texas Cobb Salad, Asia Steak Salad, Baked Goat Cheese Salad, Thai Shrimp Salad, Chicken Caesar and Country Fried Chicken Salad. These salads are $12 to $14.
At the top of the printed menu we spied Gorgonzola Filet Mignon at $22. This turned out to be a wonderfully rare steak which we shared. With this very good beef we were served sauteed asparagus and smashed red bliss potatoes. Other entrees which appealed to us were Overstuffed Veal Chop, Soy Butter Crusted Salmon, Chicken Prosciutto, Chipotle BBQ Shrimp and Pasta Vierge from $14. If diners prefer they can order snacks like Cheeseburger Rolls, Chicken Tenders wings and Barbeque Chicken Quesadillas, $7 to 10. There are also classic burgers at $14. Sandwiches come in several sizes: Marinated Skirt Steak, Grilled Chicken, Eggplant, Fried Shrimp Po-Boy and Buffalo Chicken Wrap $12 to $14. Desserts include warm Chocolate Molten Cake, New York Cheesecake and White Chocolate Creme Brule at $7. We shared the delightful White Chocolate Creme Brule by Chef Mohammed Sissakho.
Hours: Daily noon to midnight with the bar open
until 4 a.m. Saturday and Sunday they open at 11 a.m.
The dollar sign indicates the approximate cost of dining for two persons, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.