Magazine article The New Yorker

Mr. Chow Tribeca

Magazine article The New Yorker

Mr. Chow Tribeca

Article excerpt

121 Hudson St. (212-965-9500)--When Michael Chow, purveyor of fancy Chinese food and befriender of fancy American people, opened his fifth restaurant last month, in Tribeca, Fashion Week Daily devoted a page to the "new glam eatery" and its first-night seating chart. "The social hierarchy," it declared, "is already mapped out." Just getting on the grid can be a hassle in the Mr. Chow universe. You call; you wait; you may be asked to leave a message with your number, name, and hoped-for reservation time. Googling your date before dinner is standard practice, but your dinner Googling you for a date? Perhaps it's best to show up and appeal to the cartographer himself.

Theoretically, the point of an eatery, however new or glam, is eating, but, at Mr. Chow, getting your hands on a menu is Obstacle No. 2. Under the pretense of hospitality, the waiters--all male, wearing tuxes, speaking with traces of whatever Romance language--prefer to order for you. Just say "land," "sky," or "sea." In any case, count on getting Mr. Chow's signature noodles, which a pasta thrower slaps out near the bar. …

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