I’ve written before about Chinese food in Grand Forks at China Garden and at the Panda Buffet, but I thought I’d better get over to Phoenix Wok & Grill on Columbia Road and check it out.
A buddy and I went to Phoenix (2100 South Columbia Rd) a few weeks ago and it was surprisingly dead. Service was attentive, though, and the food came out fast with the lack of orders. You can get take-out and delivery, too.
Decor is what you’d expect of a Chinese restaurant. Phoenix actually took the place of another Chinese place called Hunan. There are several TVs around the restaurant showing sports and a mix of booths and tables.
We decided to order the appetizer sampler, which includes won tons (cream cheese or pork), BBQ pork, egg rolls and Cantonese BBQ ribs. Both of us thought the cream cheese won tons were delicious and the egg rolls slightly run of the mill. The pork was a bit dry and the ribs had an oddly sweet, sticky sauce that tasted wrong, not that I’m looking to criticize, but just being honest.
The main problem with the entire appetizer sampler was the temperature. All of the items were room temperature or slightly below, likely having sat in a warmer that wasn’t set high enough. It was disappointing, especially since the won tons were so good.
Other appetizers include nachos, onion rings, wings and breaded mushrooms. I know they’re trying to appeal to those who might want a more Americanized menu, but Phoenix should stick to Chinese food and leave out the poorly-executed American dishes. At any Chinese restaurant, you’re most likely not going to get good non-Chinese food, anyway.
I got a bowl of the consomme soup that was pretty good, but nothing above what I’ve had at other places.
Under the “Phoenix Chinese Favorites” portion of the menu, I ordered the mixed greens for my entree, looking for a lighter option. It’s broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green peppers, onions, bok choi and your choice of meat stir-fried in a light sauce. It’s obviously heavy on the vegetables but the “light sauce” was anything but, tasting just a little salty but of nothing much else and seeming to be overly thickened with corn starch.
The overall experience was sub-par, but I would probably give Phoenix another shot. I know some locals enjoy the place, so if you’re one of them, leave a comment about what you think!