Philippe and Mr. Chow will not be surprised to see that both gourmet Chinese
restaurants have many of the same dishes on their menus. Probably
the most popular item at each eatery is the chicken satay, a presentation of
skewered chicken served with peanut sauce. Although Philippe has been open
longer in Miami Beach, Mr. Chow actually invented this appetizer after its
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debut in 1968 in London.
Going head-to-head for this chicken satay competition was an
easy task considering the restaurants are next door to one another. Short Order
began at the Gansevoort South Hotel (where Philippe resides) and then headed
a block south to the W Hotel (where Mr. Chow recently set up camp). Below are the
results of our taste test.
Philippe's Chicken Satay ($18 for three skewers)
Pros: Arriving on a white plate, the trio of chicken was drizzled with the chef's "famous cream sauce." This peanut-cream condiment was a nice counterpart to the lengthy chicken strips, and there was a generous pool of sauce on the bottom of the plate for dipping. The orange coating was firm and even.
Cons: The satay could have been hotter; it arrived lukewarm. The color was shockingly orange, and permeating the satay was an odd, tangy flavor, which, although it was not unpleasant, Short Order could not identify.
Mr. Chow's Chicken Satay ($5.50 per skewer)
Pros: The "original recipe" appetizer was served piping-hot and was accompanied with a good sauce-to-skewer ratio. The color of the coating was a muted orange, which is more pleasing to the eye. An bonus component, Mr. Chow's chili sauce, added heat to the skewers in a favorable way.
Cons: The skewers are smaller than the ones at Philippe. It's definitely a more petite serving of chicken. The taste is bland, although the addition of the aforementioned chili sauce perked the dish up.
Verdict: It was very close, but the edge went to Mr. Chow's satays. Not only were they served hotter, but also the accompanying spicy condiment made the dish that more interesting. Short Order just couldn't get past the tangy aftertaste or lukewarm temperature of Philippe's version.
2305 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach