Brush up on your French, Los Gatos, as Chez Phillipe will soon enter its soft opening phase. The new French bistro is expected to be open by June 21 for lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch.
“I want this concept to be authentically French,” says chef/owner Phillip Leroy, originally from France and a Le Cordon Bleu graduate, who lived in Palo Alto for 30 years. There, he opened several restaurants, including Pastis and La Boheme, before moving to Los Gatos five years ago. “Living in Palo Alto, we thought it was the best. But then we got to Los Gatos, and I thought, ‘This is where I belong.
He and his partner Deena were looking for the right place in downtown Los Gatos to open a restaurant focused on classic French cuisine. In 2021, while walking their son’s dog, they noticed a sublet notice at the maid’s quarters adjacent to the Jennifer Croll Little Black Dress store. And There you go!
Although it took a bit of work to gut and remodel two spaces that hadn’t been touched in decades, he’s really happy with the results. Decor is light blue and airy, with a French country house feel.
“We want customers to feel like they’re entering our home and not a restaurant,” says Leroy. “The ambience is specially designed to give the impression that you have accepted a personal invitation to dine with us. It will be very informal, with rustic tables and classic white plates. There will be a blackboard with specials, very French.
Leroy is particularly enthusiastic about the large backyard that was once part of the maid’s quarters. “It’s covered in vines and it’s so cool!”
He commends the city of Los Gatos for embracing the parklet concept early in the pandemic and is thrilled to have its own outdoor dining space out front.
On the menu, expect classics like coq au vin, mussels and fries, steak tartare and snails. It will serve salmon, although it’s not big in France.
“The people of Los Gatos love their salmon,” he notes. “I want to add things like monkfish, maybe monkfish meunière. I love calf’s liver, but we’ll see what the public wants.
When asked if he will serve rabbit, he laughs, recalling the reaction he had when he served rabbit on Easter at La Boheme in Palo Alto. His humor was lost on his customers.
The wine list will be entirely French, and will offer 12 wines by the glass at low prices. They don’t have a full liquor license.
“Don’t ask about Sancerre,” he says of the Loire Valley wine appellation. “The French don’t like him that much. It’s an American thing. But we will have Chablis; It’s perfect with mussels and fries.
Guests can enjoy fresh French bread from a source in San Francisco. Leroy describes it as so light and airy that you have to eat it all right away. Twist our arm.
The menu will include different kinds of exclusively French pâtés, charcuterie and cheeses. What, no Sonoma or Monterey selections? No.
“This concert is French all the way! From A to Z!” says Leroy. “We will have three different kinds of cheese imported from France every week.”
Save room for the tarte tatin; he promises it’s epic.
On the brunch menu, freshly baked croissants and pastries, as well as French toast, a variety of Benedictines, including duck confit, as well as croques Monsieur and Madame, as well as sweet and savory crêpes.
And the champagne? “It’s not my thing,” says Leroy. “But I love Veuve Cliquot; it’s my favorite, even though my wine friends think it’s clunky.
Chez Philippe, located at 34 N. Santa Cruz Ave., will be open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with brunch from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends and dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Reservations are suggested at 408-442-5353. For more information, visit www.chezphilippelosgatos.com.