Friday, June 20, 2008

Phoenix Garden

on Thursday night I met up with Priya and Anamika at Phoenix Garden, a Cantonese restaurant on 40th between 2nd and 3rd avenue. Anamika had highly recommended it and I was excited to try some of the things she said were particularly good.

first we got the salt and pepper shrimp. the shrimp were butterflied and fried flat, with heavy salting and peppering (as you might expect). the shells were left on, and Anamika enjoyed crunching right through them (Priya and I tried, but couldn't appreciate the plasticky dad would've liked 'em, though). I don't know what other flavors were involved, if any, but somehow simple salt and pepper was perfect and delicious as a seasoning. we gobbled them all up before I could take pictures, so I just have this one lone remaining shrimp (before one of us also gobbled up this one):

next a half order of Peking duck arrived. although I really like duck, I'd never had actual Peking duck in a restaurant before--it's always like $20-30! (this half duck was $19). it also seemed like kind of a waste and overly elaborate ordeal...the guy comes to the table and prepares the duck wraps for you, so on and so forth...however, when I ate one of the duck wraps, I could only think, "shit, this means I'm going to be ordering Peking duck more in the future...hello $30 entrees). it was delicious. the plum sauce plus the crispy skin and dark, dark fatty duck meat went so well together.

following the duck, we had "China green with oyster sauce", which sounds like a really bad grade of heroin but is actually just Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce. although simple, this may have been one of my favorite parts of the meal, because the broccoli stalks were cooked exactly to the degree of tenderness I like them--still kind of crunchy, but definitely fully cooked.

we also had putative ginger beef. now, it was very good, and the beef was of good quality and great flavor. we'd ordered it spicy, and it was perfectly so--the sauce and scallions cooked with it made a great addition to the white rice on my place--although Anamika opined that maybe it would've been better less spicy (or without the big red chilis, at least). however, it was not very gingery! we found a couple of chunks of ginger throughout, but it was more garlicky than anything. I liked it very much, but was a bit of a misnomer.

sorry for the crappy dark pictures!

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