Sorry if that seems like a cheap shot.
I’m making fun of Golden Phoenix. If anything, I’m impressed by the range of dishes available. But a large menu also means it might be harder to find what you’re looking for.
If you’re going to get crazy, you might as well start with the appetizer menu, which goes from the usual (fried wontons — 12 for $4.95) to, well, shrimp paste on a sugar cane stick ($3.95 or two for $7.50).
The shrimp is no longer pasty when it comes to you, by the way. It’s kind of spongy and fluffy, and you dip it in a sweet, clear sauce. Probably not my favorite thing ever, but not bad.
Those who’d rather stay within their comfort zone will relax knowing that the steamed dumplings (10 for $7.95) are big and tender and taste wonderful dipped in the provided sauce. Get them fried for a sweeter, crunchier treat.
I’m generally an egg drop soup kind of guy, and Golden Phoenix makes some of the best I’ve had. Alternately, I’m not wild about hot and sour soup, but I
would gladly order it again here. Both soups ($4.95) are advertised as “for two,” but unless that’s all you’re getting, I’d wager you need four people to eat it all. Color me not complaining one bit.
Wanting to try a few different meats, I got the Barbecued Combination ($13.95) with roast duck, marinated chicken and barbecued roast pork. The duck, usually my favorite, was not to my liking, and the chicken didn’t impress. The roast pork — which you can find on many dishes — was perfectly done. Over rice or noodles or alone on a plate, the pork is sure to satisfy.
In fact, one of my favorite dishes is the pork and thousand-year egg congee ($4.50), a savory rice porridge topped with pork and a kind of preserved egg. For my money, the egg can wait another thousand years, but a big bowl of congee and pork satisfies every time.
For comfort food, you can’t go wrong with the beef flat noodles ($7.50), which I’ve sometimes heard called “drunken noodles.” Technically, this
dish is served family-style, which means you’re supposed to share. But
philosophically, if you love yourself more than the people you’re
eating with, this is a big old plate of flat noodles in a sticky,
savory sauce studded with chunks of delectable beef. If you want to go
lighter, the chicken flat noodles ($7.50) are just as good.
“tender beef sauteed with onion, garlic and a touch of black pepper”
($9.95) is probably my favorite. That’s not my description of it. That’s
what it’s called. It’s just a classic Chinese dish, with an
unadvertised burst of ginger, that is both
comforting and a bit different. Served with rice, the sauce soaks in and
creates a bite that is equal parts crunchy, gooey, sweet and savory.
Phoenix isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it burned down once and rose
from the ashes, like a … whattayacallit. That bird thing. Anyway, it’s
here, and it’s delicious.
With a menu that large, even if every dish isn’t your favorite, you’ll have plenty of chances to go back and find one that is.