The Galleria-area hot spot that was Philippe Restaurant – it was located at the opposite endcap in the same strip center as RDG & Bar Annie – folded a few months ago. In May the space reopened as Table on Post Oak.
This is a case of the more things change the more they stay the same.
• It’s the same upstairs restaurant/downstairs bar configuration as previously.
• Chef Manuel Pucha, who runs the kitchen, was the executive sous chef under former namesake Philippe Schmit, who liked to be known as the French cowboy. In the final months of the previous restaurant, in fact, it was widely speculated that Pucha was the guy who actually cooked your food.
• The same basic ownership is still in place.
At Philippe, the menu was French with some American touches. The newly revamped menu is more international in scope: The lunch menu includes a Cobb salad, gazpacho, beet and goat cheese salad, seafood risotto, bacon cheeseburger and brick chicken.
In the evening, bigger plates include short rib osso buco and duck breast served in a smoked tea infused broth.
Our favorite item at a recent lunch was the tuna carpaccio flatbread ($14, photo at right) with a thin cracker-like crust and accented with crème fraîche aioli. It would be a fine lunch with a glass of cold Chablis. The turkey club sandwich ($12), served in little lady-like triangles along with creamy carrot soup, was old-style lunch counter food at its best.
Alas the steak salad ($18), requested medium rare, arrived with well-done beef that was a little too chewy at that. The salad had a generous portion of salty feta cheese and kalamata olives, but along with the vinegary dressing these made for a rough and disharmonious combination. Instead of knitting together, the big flavors battled for dominance.
Both the spicy lamb burger ($15) and BBQ pulled pork sandwich ($11) read better on the menu than they tasted: Again, the burger that was ordered rare arrived well done, and the pulled pork was timid and underseasoned. However both sandwiches came with hot and delicious parmesan rosemary fries.
In the upstairs dining room, the ceiling’s 20-foot ruffley white light fixture remains in a place of prominence, but many of the other design-y touches have gone away.
Downstairs the zinc bar is now marble, and the wood wine crates that lined the bar are gone. Everything feels earthier, not so preciously la-di-da. The bar’s seating area is less fussy and looks much more comfortable. (You can order the flatbreads, crudités, sliders and candied bacon in the bar area.) The whole French cowboy thing, both the Louis XIV and the cowhide, are gone.
Table on Post Oak, 1800 Post Oak Blvd. Suite 6110, 713-439-1000, tablerestaurants.com