Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, 1/12/10 - Phoenix Chinese

Date: 1/12/10
Restaurant: Phoenix Chinese
Location: 11821 West Ave, in the middle of a strip mall
Hours: 11am-10pm, all week long
Executive Chef: Possibly Buddha. Or a giant catfish that causes earthquakes. Neither was ever confirmed.

After the epic New American culinary win of last week, we were sort of relieved when our random draw brought up something on the other end of the food spectrum. (As well as the price spectrum--my poor purse still occasionally succumbs to fits of trembling.) In a city of PF Chang's and Panda Express, Phoenix Chinese is possibly the most authentic Chinese restaurant available. So we headed out!

Tavis drew this week. Observe the manly physique of the palm.

Confucius Mom says: Man who runs in front of car gets tired. But man who runs behind car gets exhausted.

Oh yeah, this is authentic.

Upon entering, be sure to request the Chinese menu. It isn't actually written in Chinese--well, it is, but English as well--but rather is where you will find the most variety in interesting dishes. Ain't no sweet and sour pork on the Chinese menu, nor egg rolls, nor other Americanized offerings. Instead, explore options such as cuttlefish, hot pots, congee, and all parts of animals normally hidden from Western eyes. (Except of course the South, where we thrive on gizzards and pigs' feet.) (I don't actually include myself in that "we.")

The portions were huge, the prices were small. Most everything on the menu was between $7-$10. No more the trembling purse! Also, by the time I finished ordering, our food arrived. Well, it felt like it.

Confucius Mom says: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for money.

Crab and asparagus soup. Notice how it's not just a little cup of soup? Yeah. Come hungry.

I could've done with more crab but the sweetness, enhanced by the thick broth, was pleasantly contrasted by the bitter white asparagus.

Actually, our entire meal was a play between sweet and bitter. Observe.

The main event. Rice tucked away out of sight.

Crispy half of duck. I'm guessing Chinese 5 spice was the rich sweetness in the skin. The meat was fatty and luscious with an exquisite duck sauce on the side. If only some biomedical engineer somewhere could create me a boneless duck! It would save so much work on my part.

Chinese broccoli, stirfried in sesame oil and a bit of garlic. Somewhere between dark bitter greens and the broccoli that we're familiar with here, this was delicious and kept the duck from getting too out of line.

Overall, it was a quick, tasty meal with some nice new flavors and ingredients. Service was friendly and prompt. It lacked the "wow!" factor of Citrus, for sure, but it also was so unlike it that I think we were able to enjoy the experience without measuring the two against each other.

Returnability? Perhaps...but if the regular menu finds its way into our hands, we might not object.

Confucius Mom says: Man who farts in church, sits in own pew.

(I love you, Mom. But be careful what you wish for!)