Restaurant News

Glitz and Glamour at the Philippe Restaurant + Lounge Grand Opening

Yes, there was glitz and glamor at the Philippe Restaurant + Lounge grand opening fête this past Sunday evening. Even before I arrived, my friend texted me, "Carolyn Farb sighting + more. Lots of great shoes on women."

It's a good thing I had some cute shoes for the occasion. I wouldn't have wanted to bump into Debra Grierson, Gracie Cavnar, Gordon Bethune, the former CEO of Continental Airlines, his girlfriend Jessica Rossman, or any of the other prominent Houstonians in attendance improperly dressed.

They were there among all the other beautiful guests, sipping on the free-flowing cocktails - a mojito-esque one with ginger called "Her name is Rio," a pretty red one in a martini glass called "The Blessing," and a champagne sangria - made to order at the lounge bar and passed around by black-vested servers.

Upstairs in the main dining room, tall cocktail tables were set up for guests to mix and mingle while noshing on the never-ending passed hors d'oeuvres: croque monsieurs, duck tamales, tuna and beef sliders, ahi tuna, pizzettes, escargot, shrimp shooters, quail eggs over mushroom crostini, and more. Downstairs on the sectioned-off patio, grilled ribs and corn were being served at a grill station.

I didn't get to try all of them because I found a spot in the wine and cheese room and didn't want to leave. Five stations had been set up, each serving a different wine and cheese pairing. The Crios Malbec was paired with a Sardo cheese, a Spanish Tempranillo with Manchego. From France, a lovely and refreshing Rosé from Tavel was served with brie, Mimolette and Boursin. From Italy, a Rosso di Montalcino was paired with Soppresatta cured meat, and at another station, an Italian Sangiovese was paired with yet more cheese. A plentiful selection of Philippe's signature house-baked mini baguettes, crostinis, brioche, and other toasted breads were available at each table as well.

And still, there was more. In the Chef's Table area, a temptingly beautiful assortment of mini desserts beckoned with everything from mini pistachio-flavored macarons, to mini lemon custard tarts and mini choux à la crème.

It was decadent, over-the-top, and everything a grand opening should be. The true star for the night was Philippe Schmit. Looking relaxed and happy in his white chef's coat, the French Cowboy was all smiles, because the party, much like his restaurant, was a huge success.

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Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham