Friday, January 8, 2010

What's in a Name?

For several months now, Miami has played host to the ongoing brouhaha between Michael Chow, founder of the Mr. Chow restaurants (including a new one in South Beach), and Philippe Chow (supposedly a/k/a Chak Yam Chau), who started the Philippe restaurants (including a new one in South Beach), which Mr. Chow #1 says are improperly trying to capitalize on his good name. (Though after this review, perhaps they both should change their names). The lawsuit has been quite entertaining, including allegations that Mr. Chow #2 was a mere "chopping assistant" in a Mr. Chow restaurant before going out on his own, and that Mr. Chow #1 invented such dishes as chicken satay with secret sauce (look out, next he will be claiming to have invented the question mark).

Is it possible there's another naming kerfuffle on the horizon for Miami?  Recently opening up in Coconut Grove is "The Ivy at the Grove" (in the former Christabelle's Quarter space). There is a long-standing London restaurant called The Ivy which has been around in some form since 1917, though perhaps more famous these days for who eats there than what they eat. It would be natural to think they're affiliated (indeed, New Times initially reported that the local Ivy was a branch of the London restaurant before being corrected) - but they're not. Indeed, buried within The Ivy at the Grove's website is a quiet disclaimer, given with typical British reserve: "Please note that we are not affiliated with the Ivy in London nor the Ivy in Los Angeles" (though they are affiliated with the Raffles private club in Chelsea). About a month ago, Eater Miami did a bit more investigation (a couple phone calls!) and not only avoided the error New Times initially made, but found even more mystery.

Wow - in one story, two trends I wish would die a quick death: unaffiliated knock-offs of restaurants that were mediocre to start, and the restaurant/lounge "concept."

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