Opened in 1968 (when the original London location opened) Mr. Chow fuses together fine dining and authentic Beijing cuisine. With 5 locations throughout the country (including two in NYC) it’s a mecca for people with deep pockets and an appreciation for a whole lot of swank.
I live right above (ok 5 floors up) the Tribeca restaurant and have had a little chip on my shoulder in regards to the place since I moved in. Mr. Chow is not my typical scene and I had very strong feelings about not wanting to ever try what I deemed “overpriced PF Chang’s.” But I’ve experienced a few surprises in the last few months and so I stopped turning my nose at this place, gave in and joined my friends who dine here every Sunday night.
The restaurant is slick and lavish with a polished black bar, giant cherry blossom trees, pressed white tablecloths, fine white china, and an energetic atmosphere. The service is very formal but not stuffy with bow-tied and white jacket waiters catering to your every need. The waiters are pleasant and highly attentive, giving you space while also making sure every plate is cleared, every water glass is filled, every utensil is clean and that you are never without a cocktail or glass of wine.
The food is served family style and is absolutely superb and prepared to perfection. Back in the day they had no menus and just asked you what kind of meats you like and what you were allergic to. Nowadays, with us climbing out of a recession, there is a need for menus with prices ;). Pick whatever you want on the menu and they will portion it out for you and your guests so that everyone gets the same amount of food and can actually try everything.
My personal favorites are the soup dumplings (Shanghai Little Dragons), fiery beef (filet mignon cubes fried and drenched in a spicy sauce), crispy seaweed, chicken satays (in the famous Mr. Chow’s cream sauce), black squid ink rice noodles (hand made in house), squab with lettuce wraps and beijing chicken. Do yourself a favor and bring non-discriminate eaters so that you can order a bunch of items (have everyone choose a few) and have yourself a party with chinese delights.
I used to think that you didn’t go to Mr. Chow’s for the food, that you go there to see and be seen because it’s so trendy and chic. And while the people watching is top-notch you can’t not give a shout out to the food. And let’s face it people wouldn’t spend this much money on crap food, no matter how swanky the place is. Yes it is ridiculously expensive and so it’s not an everyday dining destination (at least for me). Any negative thoughts I had prior to my three recent meals have gone out the window and I’ll be back….when my bank account recovers 😉
121 Hudson Street (at North Moore)