The second coming of Philippe immediately hikes the number of good, high-end Chinese restaurants on Long Island. But it's a statistic you could calculate with a pair of chopsticks.
Philippe Chow's personal spotlight now shines on East Hampton, New York, Miami, Mexico City, West Hollywood and ... Jericho. The boldface establishment has moved into the address recently occupied by Palio and, for many years, by Capriccio.
It's a major overhaul, turning the main dining room sleek and striking, with red banquettes and stylized floral sconces. The bar area also has been updated. The noise in both could shake your martini.
Early on, however, the food at this Philippe has careened from fair to very good. In an eatery that celebrates spontaneity and celebration, be a bit cautious before picking at random and raising the tab.
Pork soup dumplings, the Shanghai delight, were nearly soupless one evening; full and flavorful another. Vegetable dumplings and spring rolls similarly were uneven the first go-round, better the second. You'll find a respectable scallion pancake and satisfying logs of shrimp toast. Hot-and-sour soup arrives mellow, not medicinal. Philippe's wonton soup could revise your opinion of the often-waterlogged production. Tasty lettuce wraps, whether chicken or vegetable; and flat noodles, either way, too. "Velvet chicken," smooth and subtly spicy; and sweet-and-sour chicken, with some crunch. Both are fine. Likewise, the American black bass, finished with black bean sauce on one side, garlic sauce on the other. The house's Peking chicken, with light pancakes, has crisp skin, but some of the meat is on the dry side. "Crispy beef" is exactly that, and well-made, with sweet-and-sour carrots. Red-velvet cake for dessert.
Peking duck is more like lacquered roast duck, with a thick layer of fat between skin and meat. Overcooked lobster roll. Limp chicken satay. Green prawns, salty; king prawns in garlic sauce, just dull.
THE BOTTOM LINE