"This party is boring," I said to one of the only other people at the party at Philippe.
Philippe, a fairly new restaurant featuring chef Philippe Chow, who for many years was chef at the exclusive Mr. Chow restaurant (named after a different Mr. Chow), was celebrating the fact that two professional basketball players, Sebastian Telfair of the Boston Celtics and Al Harrington of the Atlanta Hawks, were investing in the restaurant and putting forward plans to open units all over the place (the next one will be in Miami Beach, they say). Gotham magazine was co-sponsoring the party for some reason.
I showed up and found there was no place to check my bag, which is annoying, but it was my fault that the party was boring. I arrived at 6:38 for a party that was scheduled to run from 6:30 to 11:30.
As a general rule you should wander into a party about an hour after it has started, at the earliest. I know this. I've known it for years and yet I still show up early. I wonder what I'm afraid of missing.
Anyway, by the time I’d finished my “saketini” — which actually was whatever vodka was sponsoring the event shaken with ice and a splash of sake, poured into a martini glass and garnished with a cucumber — I was in a better mood, I'd found a corner to stash my bag, and the party was in full swing. I switched to Champagne and met Sebastian Telfair, a little tiny fellow, bedecked in bling but extremely cordial. One of Philippe's publicists asked Mr. Telfair who he was and what team he played for. You'd think if you were a rather well-known basketball player and were investing in a business, you would expect that business's publicist to look you up on the Web or something before coming to your party, but he seemed unperturbed (I just looked him up on the Web and the NBA claims that he's six feet tall; it must have been a very tall party).
I hung out a bit with Josh Ozersky, a meat expert who recently was named New York magazine's online food editor (good thing I've always been nice to him), and I met food writer Ed Levine and the Australian guy who's on the WPLJ morning show. Texan chef Tim Love, who's opening Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in New York next month, caught me up with what he was doing.
Then Zak Pelaccio and I exchanged impressions of Buddakan (summary: I loved it, he didn't).
Many hors d'oeuvres, largely dumplings, spring rolls and satay, were passed around, many so fresh-out-of-the-fryer that you couldn't eat them right away.
That's impressive, so I was glad that I had arranged to have dinner there the following night with my colleague Janette Clark. Janette had met another one of Philippe's owners, Chris Brantley, at Nobu last month and he expressed an interest in having me come in and check it out, so I took Janette with me and left it up to Philippe to decide what we'd eat.
This is what he decided:
squab with lettuce wrap and plum sauce
crispy vegetable leaf with smoked chicken and walnuts
Nine seasons spicy prawns
House filet mignon in brown garlic sauce
Shrimp fried rice
sautéed string beans