Phoenix Inn is rising: After a fire burned out the original in 2008, owner Zheng Lin reopened in the same location a year-and-a-half later.
A new menu is one of the changes in the new establishment. While old customers were accustomed to egg foo young, chop suey and fried rice, Lin is now leaning heavily toward more true-to-form Chinese chow. The menu contains twice as many dishes as before, with an emphasis on improved taste and variety. In-season vegetables such as Chinese broccoli, snow peas and Chinese squash pepper the ample menu, along with Szechuan, Shanghai and Cantonese recipes. Chef choices include scallop with king mushroom and basil and yellow croaker in sweet-sour sauce. Lin says "people don't need to go to Chinatown when they can come right here."
Butter yellow and Chinese red walls, along with shiny round wooden tables bedecked with Lazy Susans that would be home in Hong Kong, make for an appetizing, homey decor.
The home-style tofu, nestled alongside green peppers and water chestnuts in thick gravy, is savory and decidedly non-greasy. At the lunchtime bargain price of $5.35, the above comes with appetizers of flavorful egg drop soup and a piece of crispy crab Rangoon stuffed with creamy filling. The succulent chicken fried rice, also included in the meal, makes for the perfect accompaniment.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Marla Seidell