UPDATE — Philippe will close after dinner service on Jan. 11 and reopen as Table in mid-March. The space will undergo extensive renovations to double the size of the downstairs bar and expand bar seating in the second-level main dining room.
Now that founding chef Phillipe Schmit is no longer with his namesake restaurant, the current owners plan to change its name. They have registered The Table on Post Oak with the Harris County clerk, although the decision to rebrand the restaurant with that name hasn't been finalized, according to sources familiar with the restaurant's partnership.
A representative for Philippe declined to provide details but confirmed the partners are meeting this weekend to complete plans for the change, which could be announced as soon as next week.
The move completes the restaurant's transformation from a French restaurant to a more American concept following Schmit's departure in September.
When Schmit left, then-beverage director Vanessa Treviño Boyd told CultureMap the restaurant didn't have plans to change its name, but that initial decision has been revised. General manager Dallas Easterly said that the restaurant's menu was modified after Schmit left to better appeal to diners who weren't familiar with certain ingredients and French language descriptions.
As he explained at the time, "When Johnny Cowboy from Katy, his girlfriend says, ‘Honey, please take me to this restaurant I’ve heard all about it. I really want to go here.’ And he comes to town and reads our menu. It was apparent in the past that he didn’t understand our menu by the way it was written, because he would order a hamburger or sliders . . . We’ve written (the menu descriptions) so it’s more in English, and people can understand them . . . now they’re selling much better."
Changing the name completes that transformation and may attract new diners who either still assume the restaurant is French or haven't been back to it since chef Manuel Pucha took over for Schmit.
Meanwhile, Schmit's future is still very much up in the air. He hosted a dinner for friends and supporters on Dec. 30. Could that be the first sign of his comeback?