Restaurant: Mr Chow
Location: 344 N Camden Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. (310) 278-9911
Date: May 19, 2018
Cuisine: American High End Chinese
Rating: Tasty, but bland and pricey
Mr Chow is an interesting place — and particularly for me, given my proclivities. It’s been open here in Beverly since 1978 (London in 1968!) and represents a mid-late 20th century attempt to bring international Chinese food to rich Westerners in an upscale format. I haven’t been in years, maybe 10+ years, and it will be interesting to see how it is after becoming much more knowledgeable about more authentic Chinese food.
Located on Camden in the heart of Beverly Hills, it’s still pretty darn crowded on a Saturday night.
The decor is dated but in perfect preservation.
Fairly elegant, if a little 70s-80s.
Some noodles for my son. He didn’t really like them, just boiled noodles.
Gambei with goodies. Candied walnuts, crispy spinach?, fried lotus root. All carby, sweet, and tasty.
Vegetable lettuce cups. Basically chopped up vegetables with a light sauce.
The lettuce. These are all about the hoisin. Not sure they are particularly Chinese in any way (they seem far more Vietnamese), but they are associated with Asian restaurants. They may represent a staple of Mandarin places in Vietnam (with it’s heavy Southern Chinese influences).
Squid Ink Rice Noodles. Never seen these at a real Chinese place either, and the portion is small, and they weren’t the hottest, but they did taste pretty good in a lip staining kinda way.
Chicken Satay (Original Recipe). Definitely is. Not much like a Thai satay. Very sweet with this weird sweet mayo sauce. Not a huge fan myself.
Water dumplings. Basically very small standard “boiled” pork dumplings. Other than the price per gram, tasty enough.
Chicken Curry Puff. I like these flakey pastry puffs. The curry didn’t hurt either.
Drunken Fish. Filet poached in wine with mushrooms. Very nice Chinese white wine sauce. Incredibly soft and mild dish but very enjoyable as well.
Green Prawns. I think these are a slight Mr Chow variant on the Hángzhōu style prawns with green tea. These were sweeter, with less overt tea flavor, but tasty enough.
Ma Mignon. Tender and delicious (says the menu), since 1975. Also not very Chinese. Ok, but a little over cooked.
Mixed vegetables. Looks about like what it is.
Peking Duck. They carve it tableside.
With the traditional scallions and cucumber.
And pancakes. I ate about 10 of these. Nothing at all wrong with them. Excellent duck.
They have a dessert cart with more or less Italian or French style tarts.
Mixed berry tarte. It was fine, a little dry.
The place was fairly packed, with the private room swinging with a very pretty, very blond Beverly Hills 16 year old celebrating her sweet 16. I don’t really get it, as it’s well over $100 a person and where “pretty good” about at the level of a very good Chinese American joint. The atmosphere is old school and interesting. Food doesn’t have the balance or zing of good real Chinese food. It’s extremely mild across the board. I don’t just mean in terms of spiciness, but flavors are soft and veering toward sweet. Some dishes are excellent in terms of taste, like the drunken fish, green shrimp, and duck — but all in the same soft modality.
Service was pretty good. It was LOUD though, like a more modern restaurant. Not really for me.