2005_12_food_phillippe.jpgIn the chaos of Tuesday's first day of the transit strike, the offical opening of the elegant and surprisingly affordable Philippe went nearly unnoticed. But with that over, the reasons to try it outweigh the reasons to order in greasy noodles from around the corner another night (No OLLIES!) .

In the former RM space on 60th Street, in the part of East Midtown with no good nickname, the space is minimalist and pretty in sedated, candelit colors. The space encompasses two floors with a sunken dining area on street level and one above and a bar on each level, each bar serving some specialities we enjoyed, including the Tiger cocktail (Absolut Kurant, pineappple juice and Chambord, $10).

The longtime chef at the famed Mr. Chow, Philippe Chow, is focusing here on traditional Chinese cuisine and noodles, with Noodle/pastry chef wai Ming Cheng, at Philippe. Appetizers, noodles and dumplings are $7-$14 and we tried three appetizers, the chicken satay (with a delectable sweet cream sauce, $12), scallion pancake (a very flakey, almost croissant-like version of the mainstay, $7) and the Maine lobster spring rolls (tangy, light, perfect, $14). Of the noodles and dumplings, we reccomend the sieu mai (filled with pork and black mushrooms, so good we asked if we could have a full tray for an entree, $7) and the jade dumplings (shrimp, water chestnuts, $9). The entrees are meant to be split between 2-3 people (though half orders are available) and make for a great deal at $29-50 for the sharing. We were not able to try an entree but the drunken sea bass ($42 for two) and Beijing chicken ($28 for two) piqued our interest.

Also available are a 10-course dinner tasting menu ($50 per person, minimum of 6 people) and probably the best deal, a three course lunch prix-fixe for the resaturant week price of $20.06.

Christmas day lunch anyone?

33 East 60th Street, near Madison Avenue
(212) 644-8885
Lunch 12 noon-4pm daily
Dinner 5pm-12 midnight nightly
Brunch 12 noon-4pm Saturdays and Sundays