Saturday Lunch at Philippe Restaurant and Lounge

A great cocktail is a cocktail one drinks without thirst… Philippe Schmit.
I might normally try a restaurant two or three times before writing a review.  However, that’s a restaurant review… this is a meal review.  We dropped in at Philippe for a quick lunch on a Saturday.  This is a lunch review.  This new restaurant has been opened for a month, so kinks have been smoothed out and we were anxious and hungry.  Handing the keys to a valet at noon for a restaurant that opens at 12:00 is a little early, but we hadn’t beaten the owners of a Ferrari and a Bentley parked at the door.  That’s Post Oak Boulevard for you. We went in anyway. Philippe is large (as in large dining areas AND living large).   Upon entering, the downstairs area is strikingly casual and contemporary… sort of Hotel Derek (Philippe Schmit’s former home) meets Kenya.  Passing through the jungle print bar area, we headed up a rather grand staircase to the dining room upstairs… still not too formal and rather comfortable. However, we DID wonder if there was too much emphasis on maximum seating at the expense of tummy room, as it was quite a task to get in and out of the booth we chose.
The wait staff was polished and management was solicitous.  That raises the comfort level substantially.  I don’t know why I do this food writing thing, as I’m trying to lose weight… not much, but SOME.  That was problematic only because the menu was quite inviting, so we ordered more than we really wanted… and I’m not sure that we ordered what this restaurant was created for.  We saw a monster burger being served at the next table and imagined that “have it your way” really means that here.  I didn’t think the restaurant was made for burgers, either.
Sherried Onion Soup
We started with a “Sherried Onion Soup” and it was as I imagined Philippe would have served it. Topped with a bubbly gruyere cheese and dark rich in color, the Sherry was key in the aroma of this first course… a really rich offering.  So far so good.  Very nice.
Carrot Soup
We also ordered a delightful Carrot Soup.  Visually inviting, this soup was another aroma treat with a touch of cumin and fresh ginger.  It was a toss-up between the carrot and the onion soups.  There was a “soup of the day”, but that’s never lobster bisque wherever I go, so I didn’t ask.
Smoked Salmon with Pumpkin and Swiss cheese quiche
The Frenchie was next and I hesitate to describe it as I can’t stay away from superlatives when talking about it. Tender smoked salmon was served with a pumpkin and Swiss cheese quiche along with a bed of garden greens and fennel. I just don’t think I’ve ever had a quiche that I could describe as “perfect”. Until now.  This creamy quiche had a shell that would have been worth ordering even if it were empty. The quiche truly made this a brunch instead of a lunch. Very nice.
Asian Chicken Salad
Next to arrive was a Thai chicken salad that, as tasty and creative as it was, had a slight flaw… its presentation. The salad of Boston lettuce, snow peas, soy beans and a Thai dressing all with an expertly cooked moist breast of chicken is brought out nestled in paper in a wooden serving bowl… then ceremoniously transferred to your plate on the paper.  The slight flaw?  The paper gets soggy and toward the end, you WILL get some paper in your mouth.  This is a very small thing considering the fact that the salad itself is delicious and the juicy chicken is perfectly cooked.  But while I recommend the salad, I also recommend that you order it sans paper.
Jasmine Crème Brulée
Desserts all looked good frankly, and we were too full to eat one but still ordered a Jasmine Crème Brulée with banana ice cream and a butter cookie.  Like a multi-media piece of art, we didn’t want to mess it up… but it was delicious.
I’m sure that Philippe is an experience in the evening and we’re anxious to give it a try.  As far as lunch is concerned, it’s highly recommended.
Philippe Restaurant and Lounge
Boulevard Place
1800 Post Oak Boulevard

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