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Mr. Chow

There has been an influx of high-end, gourmet Chinese food restaurants in Miami, but Mr. Chow is the original innovator of the trend. Mr. Chow has been cranking out pricey chicken satay and prawn toast since 1968 in London, with other well-known locations in New York City and Beverly Hills. Opened in 2009, the Miami version, located inside the W South Beach hotel, has all the accouterments one might expect from a fashionable eatery: modern décor, beautiful people, and nearly impossible reservations to wangle. Once you make it past the maitre'd stand and the bar teeming with well-coifed patrons, expect small portions of Chinese delicacies at sky-high prices. But it's worth it for a chance to rub shoulders with regulars such as Pat Riley, Michael Bay, and Michael Jordan. Insiders know to order the chicken satay ($5.50), squab with lettuce wraps ($18), green prawns ($29.50), crispy beef ($28), and Beijing duck ($62). Many dishes, such as the lettuce wraps and the homemade Mr. Chow noodles, can be ordered vegetarian-style. Watch out, though, for the white-tuxedo-clad waiters will surely steer you toward the most expensive entrées. Don't miss the dessert trolley, full of French-style sweets, and the lychee-infused martinis. And though some critics claim Mr. Chow is simply a fancified, overpriced version of P.F. Chang's, it definitely makes for an exciting night of people-watching and tasty snacking.

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