The Chow Dynasty
By Eunice Kim
FROM LEFT: Jack Nicholson, Brad Pitt, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton.
EAST MEETS WEST
Michael Chow’s five eponymous restaurants around the country (with the sixth outpost on its way at Las Vegas’ The Harmon Hotel inside the new CityCenter development) make up a culinary empire that seamlessly melds East and West. Born in Shanghai to a legendary Peking Opera grand master, Michael Chow grew up with a fervent passion for his Chinese heritage. He moved to London at the age of 13 to study at an English boarding school and later went on to train in architecture and painting. Chow’s influences from both hemispheres of the globe have shaped his culinary philosophy.
At Mr. Chow authentically prepared Beijing dishes are served with forks and knives rather than chopsticks, and each meal can be paired with the finest bubbly straight from the restaurant’s signature Champagne trolley that gets wheeled to your table. The shining gold walls and bright red paper lanterns characteristic of a traditional Chinese restaurant are traded in for a smooth, black-and-white-checked marble floor and original art from legendary artists such as Andy Warhol.
The dining experience brings an array of creative and innovative dishes, including Chow’s gold-leaf shumai—freshly steamed pork dumplings gleaming with 24k gold flecks and slivers of shark’s fin. Chow’s chefs are expertly trained in upscale Beijing cuisine and, mindful of Angelenos’ affinity for staying svelte, they keep cooking methods simple and eschew the fryer. The squab lettuce cups are perfectly light yet flavorful. Try Jamie Foxx’s favorite, the chicken-satay skewers, or the classic Beijing duck. Mr. Chow’s beloved hand-pulled noodles have just the right amount of bite. And for seafood fans the green prawns with cashews are a must-try.
THE HALL OF FAME
From David Foster’s 2009 Academy Awards viewing party to Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey enjoying a quiet meal together, dinner at Mr. Chow is always a star-studded affair. “Chow-hounds” range from Hollywood heavy hitters such as Jack Nicholson to young starlets, including Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. So dress your best and prepare to dodge the paparazzi’s flashing lights as you make your way to the parking valet.
Mr. Chow is located at 344 North Camden Drive in Beverly Hills and serves lunch Monday through Friday from noon to 2:30 PM and dinner daily from 6 PM to 11:30 PM. Reservations are required. Call 310-278-9911.
ILLUSTRATION BY KAGAN MCCLEOD