Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mr. Chow [Manhattan, NY]

My last week in New York is conveniently and luckily NYC Restaurant Week. Since 1992, this event has celebrated fine dining at the city's top restaurants. This year, more than 250 restaurants are offering prix-fixe three course meals at lunch and dinner for $24.07 and $35, respectively.

To begin my crash course in NYC fine dining, I went to the Tribeca location of the famous Mr. Chow. The restaurant offers Beijing-style Chinese in a very hip, modern and trendy-looking atmosphere. The smell of roses and jasmine welcomed my two friends and me when we entered the restaurant. We were greeted and taken care of by five different people: the matrie-d, our server, and three busboys. It was a little annoying at first because they just kept refilling our water after every sip. We couldn’t begin a conversation. After we finished our bottled water, they left us alone. I appreciate the attentive service, but it was overwhelming.

Mr. Chow NYC Restaurant Week Menu

Vegetarian Fried Rice with Dried Scallops

Mixed Vegetables

The semi prix-fixe dinner at Mr. Chow had some great choices and well-known dishes, such as the squab and lettuce and the lobster and Mr. Chow noodles, which are all served family style. Each of us was given the choice of one dish per course (appetizer and entrée). In addition, the meal came with Vegetarian Fried rice with Dried Scallops (yea, not really vegetarian) and Mixed Vegetables.

We started off with the Squab with Lettuce, which included minced squab, diced cucumbers, and pieces of batter. It also came with a hoisen sauce. The flavors of the dish were there, but the minced squab was dry; it tasted like the dry white meat of chicken. The squab with lettuce was a solid dish, but nothing impressive.

The Mixed Steam Dumplings had a thick and sticky outer skin and a dominant mushroom taste. I thought it needed a dipping sauce because by itself, it just tasted like I was eating diced mushroom. It needed more flavors.

The style of the Chicken Curry Puffs was very unique and unexpected. The outside is flaky and very-pastry liked. I would have liked for the curry flavor to stand out more, but overall, it was my favorite appetizer.

Our second round of dishes began with the Mr. Chow noodles and fresh lobster with ginger sauce. The Mr. Chow noodles are lo mein noodles that are handmade in-house. During dinner, one of the workers came out to demonstrate how it’s made. The lobster was delicious, but the dish had a strong MSG taste. I was really thirsty after I finished this dish!

The Steamed Sea Bass Filet was really disappointing. Unlike the sea bass I’ve had at other Chinese restaurants or Chaya, these filets were dry. The sweeten soy sauce that went with the dish was really oily.

Finally, the Ma Mignon came out. Slices of filet mignon were a bit dry, but the sauce that was drizzled over the steak helped with that. The flavors of the Ma Mignon weren’t unique; I’ve had the same flavored sauce at other places. The Ma Mignon was my least favorite dish of the night.

Mr. Chow might be hip and happening, but that’s all the credit I’m going to give it. With drinks and the $35 prix-fixe meal, I spent $87 on my meal that night. Imagine if I paid the original price for the meal! I didn’t pay for great food; I paid for an experience at a “celebrity” restaurant. Because it is considered a top-notch restaurant, I expected better ingredients and more flavorful dishes; it should have been ten-times better than the seafood restaurants in Monterey Park. Instead, at the end of the meal, I felt like I could have ordered all the same dishes at let’s say, Capital Seafood. I would've gotten double the portions and paid half the price. Wesley and I have always tried to avoid the hyped up places, and after attending Mr. Chow, I’m going to stick to that rule.

Mr. Chow (Tribeca)
121 Hudson St
Manhattan, NY 10013

Mr. Chow Tribeca on Urbanspoon

Mr Chow Tribeca in New York

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  1. Even with the disappointment that is Mr. Chow, I'm still jealous you're in NYC for Restaurant Week! We just missed it -- we were there Fourth of July weekend.

  2. I guess it's like these celebrity fru fru restaurants in LA....more about the ambiance and the surroundings than the actual food...

  3. I wanted to use fru fru in my posts, but apparently that's a very harsh word!

  4. A NY chinese joint 10times better than Monterey Park-you're out of touch with reality. You paid more for the name & the high lease district bills than the food.

    btw, how was the service - top notch??

  5. Cafe Observer: The servers were annoying at the beginning because they kept refilling our bottled water after every sip. After we finished our bottled water and switched to tap, though, they left us alone. I've had better service.

    I know what I paid for in the end. I had to go in with some expectations, though. Slap me on the wrist for being optimistic!

  6. Hmm. My friends and I were thinking of going here for our next dinner club, but now I'm a little wary. I expected the Mignon would be the best thing there after looking at the menu!