Thursday, December 30, 2010


Last week being Christmas I got to do some of my favorite holiday things. First off as one of the old leaders of Stevenson High School's caroling choir, I got some of the old crew together and we sang at a nursing home and the Streets of Woodfield. Then came the traditional young Jewish Christmas Eve events. This year was a toss up. There was the Matzo Ball, the Matzo Bash, Hubbukah, but my friends and I eventually settled on Rockmitzvah. Finally, Christmas morning arrived, and of course I had nothing to do. Mostly this is because the whole world (well most of it) shuts down. One year Lisa and I ran out of food. After what seemed like an hour of searching we tracked down some rinky dink convenience store and had a breakfast of champions (Chef Boyardee and Lays). Once night came around, the last part of my Christmas experience kicked in... Chinese food. My parents came in to the city and snagged me and my buddy Arif before we all headed to Phoenix in China Town.

China Town has that nice strip to walk around, but across Archer Avenue there's one restaurant with an orange awning called Phoenix. Depending on when you go it gets really packed, especially on Christmas day. We were lucky to get a reservation. The big thing there seems to be dim sum, but they don't have it at dinner times on the weekends.

The serving was a big team effort, and I never really figured out who our waiter was. Still, our drinks stayed full and almost all of our food made it without us asking. The portions of the food were nice and large. The prices had a huge range. You can get the typical family plate for $13 or you can go for some more expensive whole fish or duck options running for as much as $38. I think our bill came out around $20 per person.

The Food
We started with a bunch of appetizers including Regular and Veggie Egg Rolls, and Veggie Dumplings. We also got a "small" bowl of Hot and Sour Soup. I use quotation marks because we all got servings, and then I had some to take home.

The Veggie Dumplings
The Regular Egg Rolls

 The Veggie Egg Rolls

 The Hot and Sour Soup

For our main dishes we shared the Moo Shu Beef, Walnut Shrimp, Mongolian Chicken, and Combination Fried Rice. The Moo Shu Beef was pretty much as expected with a really rich and tangy sauce in the filling. The Walnut Shrimp had way too much mayonnaise based sauce on it, but the candied walnuts were delicious. The Mongolian Chicken was good in that it wasn't just another Americanized deep fried Chinese dish. The fried rice was a bit dry but was loaded with shrimp, beef, and chicken.

The Walnut Shrimp

The Moo Shu Beef

The Mongolian Chicken

 The Combination Fried Rice

When I go to China Town I kind of expect a lot out of my meal. At the same time, I'm not always adventurous enough to try some of the super authentic items on the menu. If you're looking for authentic choices, Phoenix definitely has them though. They also have some pretty solid typical Chinese dishes that you may recognize a bit more if you grew up in Chicago. I don't think this would end Schneider's search for the best fried rice or anything, but it's still very good. I'll have to come back sometime and try the dim sum, but for now I'm giving Phoenix 3 out of 5 Pearls.

Phoenix on Urbanspoon

Chicago Restaurants


  1. My favorite Chinatown spot. Chef eddy is the best.

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