In most cases, I go to Phoenix Palace for Dim Sum. I host a meetup group and we go here pretty much monthly. If I had a favorite Chinese restaurant in Phoenix, this would be it. I have to admit, I’ve only ate here for Dim Sum but the Dim Sum here is good. I would say some dishes are better than some San Francisco Dim Sum I’ve had.
For me, Dim Sum is all about community and with the meetup group I run, this is an event I love to host because it brings in people new and old and they help each other out. Some people have never ate Dim Sum but the experts who sit near them help them out and tell them what to eat. I had a girl who was from Kazakhstan not know anything about Dim Sum when she first joined but month after month, she learned the ropes and now tells everyone what to eat.
For Dim Sum, most of the dishes here will make you nostalgic. Though I know most of the dishes in their Chinese names, I will try to say them in “English”. The most memorable dishes for me are the pork dumplings (siu mai), shrimp dumplings (ha gao), black bean spare ribs, pork buns (char siu bao) and Chinese broccoli (gai lan).
I feel their roasted pork and duck are too cold for my taste but acceptable.
The most unique thing Phoenix Palace has is their Curry Tendon, which is this slow cooked tendon with this delicious curry sauce. The tendon breaks down into this gelatin that thickens the sauce. Biting into it is this melt-in-your mouth experience that feels so comforting.
Phoenix Palace reminds me of a nice Chinese restaurant I ate at in San Jose. Since Chinese Restaurants have really simplistic names (golden dragon, golden gong, etc) I forgot the restaurant. I seem to think of a Chinese restaurant’s ambiance as either white
In every Chinese restaurant I’ve gone to that serves legit Chinese food, either everything is white or everything is brown. Phoenix Palace is white, In fact, I would say it’s the only white-themed Chinese Restaurant in Phoenix. When you have that type of restaurant, you know that white will show dirt on anything. Food stains, oil, chili stuff, you name it.
The big tables have a lazy susan which completes the experience of a Chinese Restaurant.
Phoenix Palace is the only Dim Sum restaurant that I know that takes reservations. From my experience, going at 10-11 am guarantees you a spot. Anything later and you will see a huge line (sorry church goers!) I’ve had up to 25 people eat with me in Phoenix Palace so I am very grateful for them taking us in. Other restaurants don’t do this which gives me a lot of stress when I schedule 15 people to go to Dim Sum with me.
Service is excellent but you have to know the lingo. The servers rush to you fast but they taper off at the end of the night. This is because they want you fed…and then want you out.
In general, the bigger the group, the cheaper it is. I’ve had a 20 person group pay about $10 dollars each. When Iw as eating with 2 other people, I paid about $15 dollars. It really depends on either how much your group eats or what type of expensive stuff you buy.
Dim Sum is marked by categories ranging from A to F. Depending on what you get, they put a mark or a stamp on a sheet in your dining area. Dumplings in general will cost less than a plate of roast duck.
If you ordered all roast duck and pork, your bill will be very expensive but if you order dumplings, your bill will be relatively cheap.
Most people will not care if you split the bill evenly so if you do eat a lot, you have an advantage of paying less while eating more. This is my strategy to say the least and it’s well worth it.
The selection of Dim Sum is vast and plentiful. You can eat steamed things, roasted things, deep fried things and vegetable things. The dim sum servers navigate through the tables with carts that specializes in a group of products. For example, there will always be a steamed cart running around with a deep fried cart close behind it.
If you don’t know anything about Dim Sum, the selection can be overwhelming and the cart owners speaking broken English doesn’t help either. If you don’t have any Dim Sum vocabulary, my best advice is to honestly point and say “that one”.
In terms of Dim Sum, Phoenix Palace is the gold standard for me. Nothing can really beat its looks and service. Sure it’s no California restaurant but it’s pretty darn good. If you are truly craving Dim Sum, this place will not disappoint as long as you keep an open mind. I don’t want to hype it up like the next Star Wars movie, but it will do the job.