Her birthday was in a few days and she told me about the plans she'd had to go to Phillipe Chow's in midtown. I'd heard of Mr. Chow but Phillipe's was new to me. She told me how it has become a trendy restaurant, as even the rappers have taken to shouting it out in songs. Honestly, I don't know if that made it more or less appealing but I do know that it intrigued me. She invited me to come along and we vowed this would be the start to us stepping outside of our box, and experiencing New York City and all it has to offer.
When we arrived at the restaurant, I was underwhelmed by the storefront which made me all the more anxious for what awaited us inside. When we get to the door, a nice gentleman opens it for us. We had no idea who he was and how he would impact our night.
There were 3 of us girls and we were meeting B's friend Foxxy and his homeboy. We get inside, and Foxxy waves us over to the bar where he's watching the Spurs game. We chat for a while when we look up and his friend is approaching. It's the man who opened the door for us when we first got to the restaurant. He introduces himself as "Andy" and we can tell that he's already somewhat intoxicated. At this point, I'm keeping it cool but I'm thinking, This dude is about to get on my nerves. He critiques our girl's handshake by telling her, "You're a black woman, your handshake should be firmer". He's complimenting the waiters on their "outfits", making inappropriate jokes and pretty much just being obnoxious. Did I mention he's arguably pushing 55? We're wondering why Foxxy brought his grandpa and we ask him as much. He tells us gramps has the money, so we make an attempt to be tolerant but I'm thinking, I got my own money.
A few minutes pass and the host comes over to greet us. He tells us he has a table for us in the wine cellar, where all the "celebs" go. As we navigate through a back staircase and through the kitchen I'm thinking, Is this where the celebs go or the staff? Why did they decide to put us back here? Then I'm reminded of all the stories you hear of people coming in through private entrances and dining in secret rooms, and I'm thinking, This could actually be good. It was. We were brought into a small room encased with wine bottles, plush brown leather chairs, our choice of music and a private staff. Just lovely. Inside there are two couples. We have annoying old Grandpa with us and I'm feeling bad for the poor couples, who probably just planned on a quiet romantic night out.
Gramps is super sociable because again he's super tipsy. He introduces himself to the young couple seated beside us, who easily remind me of Chuck Bass and Serena Van Der Woodsen from Gossip Girl (think filthy rich upper east side teens). He pretty much intrudes on their date night. He offends the girl when he rudely dismisses her when she is talking by telling her of her date, "I'm talking to him not you." She is clearly insulted and I'm embarrassed because he's seemingly a friend of mine. She surprises me and more than puts him in his place. I'm instantly impressed with her. We all begin to chat and it starts to seem as if we all came together. M & M (their names were Maximillion and Michaela and that was their self imposed nickname) crack us up all night with their tales of city life at the Boom Boom Room, Max's discontent with Michaela's disregard of the $100 bucks he'd spent on a steak she didn't even want, and his discovery of a black cousin he had in Israel named Zev. These kids were hilarious and this was turning out to be a great night. A new couple comes in and joins in on the fun and games, yet they too were visibly annoyed by Grandpa's drunken antics. Three young girls come in and one offers to give the birthday girl a lap dance. I coax her into it 'cause I'm figuring, Hey might as well continue to make it a memorable night.
As the night progresses, we have a few lemon drop shots, grey goose and pineapples, and enjoy great food. We'd ordered their famous chicken satay skewers, fried main lobster, garlic king prawns, and pan seared salmon. Halfway through the night, I realize we've accomplished what we've set out to do and more. When the bill comes, we circulate it around the table so everyone can get a look. Our tab had come to$500. B had told me to be prepared to spend about a hundred bucks so I'd come with that in mind. Between the 5 of us, that sounded about right. Grandpa, takes this time to get up and leave the table.
Foxxy calls out,"Yo A, how much you got on this?"
He says, "Nothing, I'll be waiting upstairs."
Chile, I wanted to go upside that man's head. I will say that he didn't eat anything on the table, but what was his purpose for the night?? Just to piss me off and embarrass our party? I was livid! And didn't Foxxy explicitly say he was the one with the money??? I'm beyond baffled.
We divvy up the bill and all ends up being well. We head outside to leave and Gramps is nowhere to be found. Foxxy finds him and tells him to wait for him in his car while he bids us goodnight. Five minutes later, he is clearly tired of waiting because he gets out of the car and flags down a cab. That was the last we saw of Gramps.
As we head for BK, on the FDR we laugh about the night and all the characters we'd encountered. B ended up having the time of her life and a great birthday all the same. I had a great time too, as well as a lesson in self control, cause I wanted to lose it on Gramps more than a few times. But I didn't. I kept my cool. It was a great first experience in doing and seeing more. It made me think about the whole other New York we have yet to experience, as well as everywhere else. I look forward to it and more...minus Gramps of course.