Chez Philippe, the high-end restaurant in The Peabody hotel, has reopened after being closed for more than two years during the pandemic.
Andreas Kisler, executive chef of The Peabody, said they put off reopening because the restaurant had to be absolutely perfect.
But, Kisler noted the 2022 Chez Philippe is not like the 2020 Chez Philippe.
“Our goal is to be approachable,” he said. “It’s not just the price factor, it’s the approach. When they come in, people won’t feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to cost me an arm and a leg. I don’t know which fork I’m using.'”
To achieve this, the decor at Chez Philippe has been lightened, the serving staff retrained, and the menu replaced.
“We want to get a little bit away from the overly stuffy feeling,” he said.
“We did a couple of changes, small little changes in the decor — there’s not much you can do to it. We took off some the curtains and made it a little bit more inviting,” Kisler said.
Kisler noted, too, that the service is a bit more relaxed and the music has changed from classical to something jazzier.
The biggest change at Chez Philippe is in its menu. They are now offering a seven-course tasting menu featuring “modern American cuisine with a French flourish.”
The menu, which is seasonal and updated throughout the year, was created by executive sous chef Tyler Plagmann, a relatively recent transplant from Vermont.
The meal features an amuse bouche, a sorbet palate cleanser, a selection of petite sweets, and a take-home treat from the Peabody Pastry Shop.
Kisler said he wasn’t worried about injecting some American influence into a very French menu. American cuisine has come a long way since he arrived in this country in the 1980s.
“When I came in 1982, French cuisine was pretty much the top cuisine in the world,” he said. “Then it changed slowly. People like Thomas Keller and many other chefs started to break out. American cuisine has changed over the years. We have all these influences — Asian, French, and Italian.”
He allowed, “American cuisine is probably the best cuisine now in the world.”
The current menu includes a bread service with Japanese milk bread, and other courses of crab with yuzu, trout roe, daikon, and frisee; halibut with leeks and shiso; squab with green apple, verjus, chanterelles, and marigold; and short rib with Grand Marnier, endive, and borge. The meal is topped off with pumpkin spiced cake with apple and granola.
Kisler said he’s looking forward to the holiday hum to test out Chez Philippe.
“We are hoping that the holidays bring us lots of business. So, we can improve on a daily basis. If you have lots of customers, it helps a lot to generate the rhythm that we need. If you have four or six customers, more mistakes happen than when you cook for 60. That’s our goal,” he said.
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