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Golden Phoenix review (long) & Peking Garden question

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Golden Phoenix review (long) & Peking Garden question

KathrynSK | Dec 20, 2003 02:07 AM

Tonight we went to a Chinese restaurant - apparently it used to be called Peking Garden, but now it's under new ownership and is going by the name Golden Phoenix.

My family liked the Peking Garden because of their fruited chicken? specials - apparently a fairly unique set of offerings (not sure how to describe this), but if anyone else knows what I'm referring to, I'd sure like to know what they were talking about! (From what my family said they’d be something like a typical orange peel chicken dish, but with a highly spicy sauce, and with a very sweet aftertaste – apparently they also had a great honey chicken dish.) Also, if anyone knows where the chef who made the special dishes is now, that'd be great to know too!

On to the review…
I'd recommend Golden Phoenix. It was pretty empty when we got there, but we were a little before the dinner rush usually starts. They looked like they were getting busier toward the end of our meal.

The hostess and our waitress were extremely attentive and helpful throughout the meal. We never had to request refills, more sauces, rice anything - they were fantastic! On that note, I'd go back just for the tea. When our waitress heard us commenting on it, she let us know it was a mix of oolang and jasmine tea. Great stuff.

To start the meal we were brought the usual fried won ton strips and dipping sauces. They also comped us an order of the cream cheese stuffed wontons (YUM, these are some of my favorites, and I liked their savory rendition - I think the cream cheese had some crab flakes in it :).

On the server's recommendation we started with Three Ingredients Rice Soup. This was a good amount of soup - enough for 6 of us with a tiny bit left over. Nice mix of shrimp, chicken and beef in the soup, as well as some pea shoots, mushrooms and the like. It was in a beef broth base. The sizzling rice did sizzle when it hit the soup, but it didn't have that "pop" in the mouth that I associate with sizzling rice soup. This wasn't outstanding, but it certainly wasn't bad.

For entrees we ordered a House Special Lo Mein (house special is with shrimp, chicken and beef again), the House Sizzling Beef (server's suggestion instead of Mongolian Beef), Orange Peel Chicken (I asked for spicy, she asked how spicy out of 5 - out of courtesy for my non-spice loving family I said 4 and it came out what I'd put at a 1.5 - which was appropriate for everyone else's palate!), Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Mu Shu Pork.

Since we had 6 in our party we got 2 orders of the Mu Shu Pork so everyone could have one (and I think they comped us a 3rd order so that there was enough to fill a pancake/wrapper for everyone - and so there WAS a wrapper for everyone since you only get 2 with each order!) This dish was quite tasty but a little dry - easily solved by adding extra plum sauce that they had brought without our needing to request it.

I was very happy with my selection of the Orange Peel Chicken. It was nicely crispy and had a strong orange flavor from the lovely pieces of orange peel in it. This was probably the most well received of all the dishes we ordered and it went fast!

The House Special Beef that the server suggested was good - it had a strong peppery taste and came with mounds of lovely caramelized onions and a few button mushrooms. It was a good dish and I’m glad we had it to balance the sweetness of the Sweet and Sour Chicken.

The Sweet and Sour Chicken was a good rendition of the dish – lightly breaded and then quickly stir-fried with the sauce. The sauce wasn’t too heavy or cloying (usually why I don’t care for this dish and rarely order it). Nice bits of onions, green peppers and the like mixed in with this.

The House Special Noodles were good as well – nice consistency for a soft noodle dish, with a good amount of pieces of the meats. Subtle flavoring on the noodles – again not a personal favorite, but a good dish nonetheless!

Portion sizes for family style dining were very generous and the prices were fair (and the staff was very generous with comping us an appetizer and entrée). The 6 of us (with middling to large appetites) ate well and had lots of leftovers for just under $60 (before tip) – we had no drinks other than ice water and tea though (they do offer beer and wine, as well as soda/ice tea). Excellent quality of ingredients, freshly prepared dishes and absolutely fantastic service. I’d bring guests and recommend this place.

Golden Phoenix
93829 Plaza Drive, Suite #601
Oceanside, CA 92056
(760) 941-0079
(it's across from the Tri City Hospital)

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