A first look at "fancy Chinese" cooking at Philippe on South Beach

The goods: Philippe, an outpost of the Manhattan original, has relocated from the Gansevoort Hotel to the former Taverna Opa spot in South Beach’s South of Fifth neighborhood.

Ambience: The glossy supper club recreates its trademark black, white and red color scheme with leather booths, gauzy curtains and a horseshoe-shaped bar. The 6,000-square-foot space includes a 35-seat private wine room, a back room for discreet dining and a glass-enclosed expo kitchen. 

The grub: Americanized Chinese food. Executive chef Philippe Chow blends Beijing-style cooking with a fairly accessible menu. Peking duck (and chicken) remains the star, carved tableside and served with mini-crepes, hoisin and scallions.  Prices skew to fine-dining territory: Starters run $7-$18, and most single-portion mains in the mid-$20s.

Begin with chicken satay skewers, tinted orange with carrot puree and smothered in a creamy peanut sauce; a platter of Mr. Cheng’s Noodles in pork or veal bean sauce; or the steamed dumpling sampler with plump pairs of vegetable, chicken and shrimp pockets. Wok-fried mains include green prawns with cashews, water chestnuts, peppers and mushrooms; crispy beef and sweet and sour halibut. Sides include stir-fried string beans in garlic sauce and vegetable-fried rice.

Desserts abandon the Asian theme with American classics like red velvet cake, key lime pie and apple streudel.

The verdict: Fancy Chinese cooking in a stylized supper club setting.


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