Chowing Down At Mr. Chow's

by SAMANTHA QUEEN · June 20, 2008

mr chow tabletHonestly, I had heard tidbits about Mr. Chow’s, but never knew the full gravity of its reputation. I had passed by the unassuming storefront on my daily bus ride to and from work, assuming that Mr. Chow’s was the Chinese analog to Sushi of Gari. Last night I had my first Mr.Chow’s experience and it turns out that I was wrong. While Sushi of Gari is a simple space trading solely on superior food, Mr. Chow’s is a lavish, celeb-studded venue that, not completely unlike Gari, serves up unique dishes at high prices. Mr. Chow’s, however, is down right surreal.

You walk into the place, knowing that the likes of P-Diddy have dined there, and you’re struck by wall-to-wall 1980s swank. Deep red carpets, white laminated walls, chipped brass details, mirrors, more laminated surfaces, clouded glass, and geodes …

So there we were, Maddy Madison and I, feeling like extras in a James Bond movie. We were seated and just as I began to understand what Maddy, then sitting across the table from me, was trying to tell me (all I could hear was the man sitting at the next table, about two inches away, loudly comparing his dinner to pancakes), the waiter approached and gave us the hard sell on the bottled water. Which may not have been so jarring if he hadn’t just pushed the champagne. Neither of which would have been so bizarre if he hadn’t attempted to order our respective dinners for us at numerous points during our (not so drawn out) pre-dinner deliberations. It wasn’t so much rude as it was strange. But we are laid back people, and enjoyed our very small meal nonetheless.

For dinner, we had shrimp, chicken and … jellyfish? Yes, jellyfish. Crunchy buggers. I had previously questioned their categorization as mollusks, but never again. The shrimp were whole, with heads, eyes and legs, which brought back memories of my Chinese flat-mates in Manchester. They ate some crazy looking things for breakfast. And if their whole shrimp on toast was as good as Mr. Chow’s whole shrimp on … err, bows of shredded, fried something … then I should’ve been crying in my Weetabix. But as good as they were, at $31 for two shrimp, they should’ve come with a double orgasm and a cigarette. Dinner also featured a loud, noodle-making demonstration, which was fun, but would’ve made conversation impossible had our pancake-obsessed neighbor still been seated beside us. On the whole, it was a great experience and I do recommend it for that, if for no other reason. And there’s a Tasti D-lite right around the corner, which is convenient, since you will likely be hungry afterwards.

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