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Chen Chow in B'ham

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hoi polloi Dec 11, 2007 01:05 PM

Has anyone been? Thoughts? Heard the decor and atmosphere are great but how's the food? So far mixed reviews.

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    grouper RE: hoi polloi Dec 12, 2007 03:55 AM

    Are you talking about the place on Old Woodward next to Buca? I didn't realize it was open yet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grouper
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      hoi polloi RE: grouper Dec 12, 2007 05:29 PM

      yes, that's the one. the old pampas churrascaria.

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      cherie RE: hoi polloi Dec 13, 2007 11:06 AM

      Six of us will be going Saturday night...
      But I know some friends who went last Saturday night -- they said the food was great--tons of choices, that it was packed and a total scene (a Camerons-like crowd), and that the service was a little slow but that the staff kept bringing them free sushi to apologize for the delays.

      7 Replies
      1. re: cherie
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        hoi polloi RE: cherie Dec 17, 2007 05:57 PM

        did you make it there on saturday night? was gonna check it out last friday but the buggers closed for a private party...BOO! ended up checking out ronin instead.

        1. re: hoi polloi
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          cherie RE: hoi polloi Dec 18, 2007 10:08 AM

          Yes, I did, we were a party of 6. We all rather enjoyed the people watching as it was a major scene. And I mean major.
          The restaurant decor is really beautiful. It is obvious that no expense was spared.
          We got a couple sushi dishes for appetizers, plus tuna tartare from the regular menu, and all were excellent. One woman got a salad which she raved about.
          For dinner, we had several sea basses, a snapper, and a filet. Everyone was happy with their dinners (except the snapper orderer was disappointed that it was so heavily fried when the menu said "flash fried). However, we all enjoyed the sushi so much most of us agreed that we'd probably get solely sushi next time.
          Yes, there will be a next time!

          1. re: cherie
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            grouper RE: cherie Dec 18, 2007 01:54 PM

            Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I think we'll wait until after Christmas and maybe it won't be so busy.
            Does anyone know if this place is a chain?

            1. re: grouper
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              hoi polloi RE: grouper Dec 18, 2007 04:07 PM

              no, it's not a chain.

            2. re: cherie
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              hoi polloi RE: cherie Dec 18, 2007 04:11 PM

              sounds excellent. im definitely a big seabass fan myself. how is it prepped? im glad they'll be available on opentable so at least i can get points when i make reservations.

              1. re: hoi polloi
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                cherie RE: hoi polloi Dec 19, 2007 09:13 AM

                The sea bass had an Asian flare, very lightly miso glazed, with dainty gourmet veggies on the plate as well as rice. My husband's filet was Asian spiced and was accompanied by wasabi mashed potatoes.
                As for Open Table, that is how I made my reservations, but now the site says that Chen Chow will not be taking internet reservations again until January 2.

                1. re: cherie
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                  oaklandfoody RE: cherie Dec 24, 2007 01:05 PM

                  I had the seabass, there was no miso. The plate was a joke, a piece of overcooked fish on a plate with some undercooked cold veggies and dry rice in a side bowl. What's asian about tomato and capers or is that fusion?

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          xman887 RE: hoi polloi Dec 18, 2007 08:01 PM

          interesting read on mlive http://blog.mlive.com/oak_business_re...

          the owner is a partner in mosaic in greektown which is a great place. i look forward to trying this place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: xman887
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            oaklandfoody RE: xman887 Dec 24, 2007 01:00 PM

            mosaic is far from good food

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            butterhead RE: hoi polloi Dec 19, 2007 06:53 PM

            The dining room is indeed absolutely beautiful, but the food is far from beauty. You can't eat the decor. The filet looked like it was prepared by Jack The Ripper as it had 4 slashes in it !?!? It came with wasabi mashed potatoes with zero structure and even less flavor with seven rocks disguised as vegetables. The 1980s confetti garnish around the plate was of DRIED parsley and paprika, i'm still picking pomegranate seeds out of my teeth. It My wife ordered the Red Snapper, I mean the Tilapia, and it came as two giant fish sticks with a chunky ketchup plus seven more rocks. The sushi was raw fish on overcooked rice. The service was unremarkable. Chen Chow should really get their act together. If you want to be seen this is the place to be. But if you want a great meal go to Cameron's and pretty much everywhere around has better sushi. What a joke.

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              Ludlows23 RE: hoi polloi Dec 20, 2007 07:33 PM

              I was there on Saturday the 15th, before the private party got underway. Agree with all posters that it was a SCENE - very "birmingham, look at me"... There was even security at the door. We had great food - calimari app, sushi, the shrimp dish and the sea bass - loved it all. My only gripe was that the valet guys had no control over their process and everyone was waiting 30+ minutes to get there cars - at it was only 8:30 pm. I mentioned something to the hostess and she wouldn't go find the the manager for me. Hopefully they get that worked out. But I'd go again for the food.

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                oaklandfoody RE: hoi polloi Dec 24, 2007 12:58 PM

                Crap, Crap, Crap. Chen Chow is an overpriced joke. Four of us went last evening;
                our server (Nancy) was rushed and plain rude. The food was poor, from the sad excuse for sushi to the unedible dessert. I don't go to and eatery for a scene i go for the food and i can't say I, or anyone at out table, will be back soon. My evening at Chen Chow made my last visit to P.F.Chang's seem like a fine dining experience with cutting edge haute asian cuisine.

                1 Reply
                1. re: oaklandfoody
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                  gastronomical RE: oaklandfoody Dec 29, 2007 12:39 PM

                  Yeah, I have to agree with you oaklandfoody...my experience there was, in the politest terms, less than remarkable. It took forever to get the food, and all I kept thinking after it came to the table, was, I waited an hour for this AND I'm gonna have to pay for it? Too bad you can't eat furniture and wrought iron work, because if it tastes as good as it looks, it surely would have been better than the food. I've had better service from a cotton candy vendor at Comerica Park. Just an outright bad experience all around.

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                  grouper RE: hoi polloi Dec 25, 2007 06:08 AM

                  Maybe the word is getting out that they still have work to do. I walked past there on Friday night and it wasn't busy at all. The valet said that they had been quite slow that night. I thought they would have been packed, but word of mouth does travel. No one wants to spend that kind of money for a rushed waitress or just so-so food.

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                    cherie RE: hoi polloi Jan 2, 2008 10:10 AM

                    My husband and I went back again Sunday night with another couple.
                    The place was busy, not packed. We sat in the lounge.
                    The service was indifferent and the rice involved with our sushi was mushy.
                    Not so good this time.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cherie
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                      ngold150 RE: cherie Jan 6, 2008 07:29 AM

                      Four of us had dinner there last evening. I agree that the restaurant itself is beautiful. Nothing else about the night measured up. Our server could hardly keep up with her tables. She would disappear for long periods of time, leaving us with empty drinks and plates, and her knowledge of the menu was lacking as was her attitude. We ordered a bottle of wine, which we asked for twice, our sushi was delivered and then she appeared to tell us that there was no more. Sushi rice, tempura'd shrimp and fish quality was all suboptimal. Spoke with male manager at the end to give him feedback and he showed little interest in what we had to say. The packed bar looked like a reincarnation of the deceased Blue Martini. Full of young drinkers who care little if the food and drinks are skimpy. Too bad, the place could be such a great addition to B'ham.

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                      oaklandchowhound RE: hoi polloi Jan 10, 2008 07:05 PM

                      I made the chen chow mistake tonight. I wish I would have looked here before entering that place. The place is beautiful. The food is... The drinks are no big deal as is the wine list. We, my wife and I, ordered some sushi it was substandard. I had the N.Y. strip it was overcooked and leathery, the sauce was a poor excuse for teriyaki heavy with ginger and garlic, the potatoes had no flavor, and the veggies weren't worth eating. She had the chicken, it too was overcooked and very small, her rice was dry and cold, and those veggies again. We went to cupcake station for dessert, the high point of our evening out other than the cinema. That was our experience.

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                        royaloaker RE: hoi polloi Jan 22, 2008 08:27 PM

                        Chen Chow is some of the worst, most expensive, food I have ever had. Not to mention rude, slow service and a very over-priced wine list. I don't care what the place looks like, it was just plain BAD!

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                          royaloaker RE: hoi polloi Jan 24, 2008 11:18 AM

                          A mixed review of the place was in today's free press. It seems to echo this board.

                          Here's the url:

                          http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: royaloaker
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                            buttermonkey RE: royaloaker Jan 26, 2008 07:13 PM

                            Wow! What's up with this place? Everything I hear and most of what I have read 'bout it is negative.

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                            jerro RE: hoi polloi Apr 5, 2008 07:10 PM

                            Chen Chow has a new executive chef, Robert Courser. He is just settling in but he did great things for about 5 minutes at Lot 1210- then they fired everyone- (I think they overspent on everything) then he was at LA Dolce Vita for about ten minutes. But he is very creative and while I only had apps and sushi, it was good.

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