Top of the Point
West Palm Beach
2305 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
(at the Gansevoort South Hotel)
Address:2305 Collins Ave. Miami Beach (adjacent to the Gansevoort South Hotel)
Hours: Lunch, Mon-Sat, 1- 4 p.m.; Dinner Mon-Sat 6 p.m.-midnight; Sun 3 p.m. midnight
Liquor: Full bar
Prices: Appetizers $10-$39; entrees (served for 2-3 people) $44-$75; desserts $14
Ambiance: Contemporary chic
Credit cards: All major
Definitely South Beach-style:
Glamorous and fun, with a cuisine that
might be found at a neighborhood Chinese restaurant
By Jana Soeldner Danger
Chic, glamorous Philippe, adjacent to South Beach’s Gansevoort South Hotel, serves traditional Chinese fare with modern twists to please American tastes, and plenty of showmanship. Don’t go there expecting the kind of experience you might find at your neighborhood Chinese eatery, although there may be similarities in the cuisine.
Philippe is sister to the New York restaurant by the same name owned by Hong Kong-trained Chef Philippe Chow and restaurateur Stratis Morfogen. Chow came to the U.S. in the 1970s. After working more than 25 years at New York’s Mr. Chow (no relation to Philippe), he struck out on his own. Today, in addition to New York and Miami, there are Philippe restaurants in Las Vegas and Mexico City.
The Asian fare at Philippe is prepared and served with upscale flair, and carries prices to match. Entrees are intended for sharing, however, and doubled prices reflect that, so don’t be shocked when you first peek at the menu. Half portions are available for most items. Noodles and dumplings are handmade on the premises, as are the desserts.
The stylish interior (the restaurant seats 400 - 100 upstairs, 200 downstairs, 50 outdoors, and 50 in a private wine room) features a minimalist décor with white walls and black floors, a lacquered black bar, curved white leather chairs, and red accent pillows.
Servers wear formal black jackets over red sneakers. Between courses, they deliver hot, steaming hand towels. The shiny, stainless steel open theater kitchen is visible from both first and second floors, so the cooking drama going on behind its glass windows is part of the entertainment. Every evening, the noodle chef gives a showy performance in which he stretches a piece of dough by hand, and then turns it into very thin pasta, while fourteen cooks come in and out of clouds of steam billowing over the cooking ranges.
We began with glazed spare ribs ($18), which had crackly exteriors and juicy, moist interiors. The light glaze made with elder flower honey was mild and sparely applied so it did not overpower the taste of the meat.
Lobster spring rolls ($29) were also very good, with light, thin wrappers and generous amounts of lobster in the filling. The crispy sea weed on which the rolls were served, however, was more texture than taste.
Chicken lettuce wraps ($18) were nothing special. The iceberg leaves were crisp and fresh, but the filling of diced chicken, zucchini, mushrooms, and hearts of bamboo sautéed in soy sauce, was flavorless unless dipped in the accompanying hoisin, plum, and mustard sauces.
Other appetizers include four kinds of satays ($18-$39); shrimp toast ($16); scallion pancake ($12); calamari ($14); hot and sour soup ($10); and wok-fried mayonnaise prawns ($22). There’s a separate menu section devoted to noodles and dumplings ($12-$19).
Main courses are intended for two people unless half portions are requested, so remember that menu prices reflect the doubled servings. My king prawns ($64) were excellent. Dipped lightly in flour and an egg wash for a delicate, crispy coating, the large, very fresh shrimp were barely seared and served with scallions, ginger, and plenty of sliced fresh garlic cloves steamed in chicken broth.
Steamed red king crab ($95) was a generous portion of large legs with firm flesh; very good, although a bit salty. A sauce made with butter, ginger, scallions, and garlic was an ideal accompaniment.
Some other seafood dishes are Chilean sea bass with black beans and garlic ($60); crispy sweet-and-sour halibut ($58); several different preparations of prawns ($64); and Maine lobster (market price).
Crispy-skinned Peking duck ($75) is served tableside with house-made pancakes. There’s Peking chicken ($55) prepared with several different kinds of sauces ($44) and crispy duck ($60). Among the meat dishes are beef with oyster sauce ($51); pork loin ($52); filet mignon ($64); crispy beef ($56); and sweet-and-sour pork ($52).
Here, Asian fare is gone, and the sweet finishes are similar to what might be found in any American restaurant. There is no dessert menu; instead, a server presents a tray with offerings for the evening. All are made in-house by the resident pastry chef and are priced at $14. We were happily surprised by the varied selection and quality.
A chocolate fudge torte was dark and dense, creamy and luscious. Blueberry cake was moist, baked with fresh blueberries and served with sweet sauce and more plump berries. It was a delightful, seasonal treat.
Philippe has an ambience that is both glamorous and fun. Servers are attentive.
While some of the dishes are similar to those that might be found at a neighborhood Chinese restaurant, Philippe offers a dining experience that is definitely South Beach-style.