Mr Chow: Where dinner is an experience
In Beverly Hills, Mr Chow is a legendary dining destination where the glitterati go to see and be seen. And with the restaurant’s arrival to Caesars Palace, famed Chinese restaurateur Michael Chow now has a location in one of Las Vegas’ most storied casinos. The pairing is as grand as one would expect, resulting in the ultimate culinary theater destined to become as talked about as its L.A. brethren.
The journey begins with a short trip up a private elevator to the completely white room, a stark contrast to the colorful spectacle that awaits. Because Mr Chow is ultimately about showmanship.
Take, for instance, the moon effect in the center of the room, which serves as the focal point of the space. Every 20 minutes, it drops from the top of the domed main dining room and performs mid-air acrobatics.
And at the beginning of the meal, a champagne trolley arrives tableside. And bookending your meal is the dessert cart. But the best of them all appears during dinner when a chef wheels out a cart on which to stretch and pound out hand-pulled noodles.
Then there's the food. Begin with the chicken satay, skewers of meat slathered with an addictive peanut sauce, or the smoky Mr Chow spareribs, abundant with five-spice and begging to be gnawed off the bones. The inventive prawn toast, a deconstructed rendition of the traditional Chinese dish, comes with shrimp and cashews atop sesame-strewn toast points and crispy seaweed.
The eponymous Mr Chow Noodles, served with a sweet and spicy minced pork sauce, is a fitting tribute to Chow and his empire. And the jet-black squid ink rice noodles are a worthy rendition of the dish. Conversely, a flash of color comes from the green prawns that, in a prime example of truth in advertising, are very green, owing their distinctive color to spinach purée.
Drink-wise, consider the Pineapple 100 the more mature version of Stoli Doli, improved upon with the addition of Grand Marnier 100. Even better is the Five Spices Ole Fashioned, comprised of Gentleman Jack and a five-spice honey nectar; very prominent in Chinese cuisine, the combination of star anise, clove, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds provides an inventive Asian flair to the classic cocktail.
A signature Asian presentation carved tableside is the Peking duck, another part of the Mr Chow pageantry. Wrap the crispy, fatty waterfowl in the accompanying paper-thin wheat pancakes with sharp hoisin sauce and crisp cucumber. But don’t overindulge because the arrival of the dessert cart brings with it an impossibly airy toasted coconut cake. It is the proper climax to the Mr Chow culinary theater for which you’ll want tickets to nightly.
Caesars Palace, 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 5-10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 702.731.7888