THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Philippe
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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Philippe Restaurant Review: While diners accept that the cuisines of some nations, like France, have both humble and haute components, upscale Chinese food has been a hard sell in America. But unlike the Cantonese-American and western China's Szechuan dishes at most neighborhood Chinese restaurants in the U.S., the food at elegant, multi-level Philippe is rooted in northern China's Beijing---where the finest Chinese chefs were imported since medieval times to impress the aristocracy. Wheat is the main northern carb, so skip Philippe's competent but pedestrian fried rice; the must-have starches here are handmade noodles, especially crab meat soup dumplings. Bite into the taut, delicate skin for a burst of truly superior "supreme" broth, followed by beautifully spiced crab-pork filling. Seafood is super, especially precision-cooked spinach-dyed green prawns, with cashews and vegetables including fresh water chestnuts (a revelation for those who only know the canned kind). Philippe's only significant Americanizations are desserts, including house-made fruit sorbets and even Elvis' favorite: red velvet cake, a refined not-too-sweet version with orange zest-inflected frosting and fresh berries.