Restaurant Review: Mr. Chow…Not Worth The Time

I was looking forward to dining at Mr. Chow, especially considering there were six establishments (including two in New York, one LA and the original in London) bearing the brand which dates back to 1968. Two and half hours after I arrived, I left feeling unsatisfied and much poorer from the experience. In fact, the experience was so unmemorable that it’s taken me a while to write this review. But, let me rehash the experience…

While we waited for our table in the empty restaurant (on a Saturday night), we decided to grab some drinks at the restaurant’s bar. You shouldn’t ask for a drink’s list because we were abruptly told that there wasn’t one, which I find quite strange for an establishment of this stature.

After being seated, our waiter arrived and explained the menu was family style, which is what you would expect from a restaurant serving Chinese food. However, we promptly offended him by desiring to order our own dishes instead of allowing him to choose a selection of his own. His selection would have included “a fish dish, a prawn dish, some chicken or duck, some vegetables and rice”… hold the press, that’s exactly what we wanted to order!

Anyhow, when the food arrived, I was even more disappointed. Almost every dish was over-cooked losing all the flavor and juices. The duck was crispy on the outside… well, it was crispy ALL the way through, rendering it incredibly dry, so the only way you could swallow it was with a good serving of beer to wash it down. The chicken tasted rubbery, while the prawns were served with the shell on and proved to be almost impossible to eat because meat was completely stuck to the shell and you couldn’t separate the two. This meant you had to eat the prawn with crispy shell and try to not choke in that process. About the only dish that was executed well was the sautéed baby bok choy, which thankfully hadn’t been over-fried.

The shock of the food was second only to the shock of the bill which ended up costing $100/head. To summarize Mr. Chow you are paying extraordinary prices for food that doesn’t compare what you can find in most places in Chinatown. Save your money. It’s definitely one that can be missed.


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