While Mr. Chow’s may be known for many things — a glamorous atmosphere, a place to spot the still-living members of the Studio 54 set– the food has never been one of them. Frank Bruni famously gave the restaurant zero-stars in his 2006 review, writing about a lamb shank: “If I learned that it had been plucked from a freezer after the better part of a decade and then nuked in a microwave for the better part of a day, I’d be shocked. It didn’t taste nearly that tender or flavorful.”
Though the man himself, Mr. Chow, disagrees that the food at his restaurant is bad, he does enthusiastically admit that it is overpriced in a new profile in the Times. “People say, ‘Oh, it’s so expensive,’” he told the Times. “I say, ‘Fantastic!’” Adding: “Expensive is important. Very important.”
He also admits that the portions are purposefully small, because he wanted to create the opposite of super large portions at less expensive restaurants (the Times mentions Cheesecake Factory).
Still, these — rather untraditional — methods do seem to be working and Mr. Chow has no shortage of celebrity clients, including Julian Schnabel and Olivia Wilde, who told the Times that eating at Mr. Chow’s “makes you feel like you are part of something that is larger than just a meal.”
That’s not saying all that much, considering the size of the meals at Mr. Chow’s. But it’s a nice thought. [NYT]