092608phillipe2.JPGPhilippe Express: Don’t let the name throw you; the cuisine here is Chinese, not French, and Seth Rogen has no connection with the place. Chef Philippe Chow is all about Chicken Satays, Crispy Beef, and Salt and Pepper Prawns, which has worked well for him uptown on 60th Street. This downtown satellite, opening tonight, features red banquets and automated touch-screen ordering. And in a “Big Brother’s Watching You Eat” twist, the touch screens will remember you ordering history, and OCD diners will enjoy using the kiosk to schedule a delivery or pick-up weeks in advance. (Soon you'll also be able to order via the website.) 469 Sixth Avenue, between 11th and 12th Streets. (212) 929-8949.

French-Japanese fusion is the angle here, brought to you by chef Hisanobu Osaka, an alum of the prestigious Tsuji Culinary School in Japan. Chef’s vision is for diners to sit for leisurely multi-course meals resembling the Japanese kaiseki style of dining. Strong Buzz has a detailed description of what all that entails, and it certainly starts off on the right foot, with a “light first course like Usuzukuri—fresh fluke sliced thin and rolled with scallions, shiso, jalapeños, and clam juice gelee served with hot scallion oil, cannelloni of snow crab and avocado rolled in cauliflower pasta.” Manga art star Hiroki Otsuka was commissioned to paint a mural in the space (formerly Dani), which is distinguished by high ceilings, leather banquettes, and tall wrought iron French windows. Eater took photos and deemed the prices "moderate." 333 Hudson Street, 212-243-3345.

Inside Park:
According to the Times, the café terrace at St. Bartholomew’s Church on East 50th Street proved so popular they decided to convert the chapter house into a year-round restaurant. Judging by the photo on Grub Street, the renovated space definitely looks appealing, with soaring ceilings and candle chandeliers. Formerly of Savoy, chef Matthew Weingarten has been “pickling everything he can find at the Greenmarket to serve as the season cools.” Beyond pickles, the menu features dishes like Heritage Breed Pork Chop Mushroom Fricassee and Caraway Dumpling, as well as Hand Cut Pappardelle Mountain Style Rabbit Ragu. 109 East 50th Street, (212) 593-3333.

Photo of Philippe Express courtesy Tanja Yokum.