Location – 2162 S. Archer (Archer and Cermak)
In one word – Omnivore
Food – Wanting to try out a new dim sum location, we ventured beyond Phoenix and Happy Chef and tried Shui Wah. Overall my eating partners and I were impressed. However, here’s the general tip for Shui Wah, if you have any eating restrictions, beware. The pork dumplings have shrimp, the chive dumplings have pork…you get the idea. My favorite selections were the pork and egg congee (it’s a Chinese take on Cream of Wheat), the lotus paste buns (sweet and super filling) and the steamed egg-yolk cream roll (best Chinese dessert I’ve had).
Drink – We chose the Jasmine tea, and I proceeded to drink 12 cups of it.
Service – Lucky for me, one of my eating partners spoke Cantonese, which definitely made ordering more efficient. It was a bit difficult to get the wait staff’s attention when we needed anything, but given how cheap the meal was, it’s hard to complain about that.
Scene – We were the only non-Chinese folks in the restaurant, which I took as a good sign. I always assume that in that situation, the food is more authentic and less Americanized. Also, we came on a Monday morning and it was pretty packed. I’d imagine that you’d have to wait to get in on the weekends.
Dress – Dim sum is really casual, so there’s no need to dress up.
Cost – For 8 dim sum dishes (enough to heartily fill 3 people), we each paid $11. Definitely a great deal!
If you like, try…Phoenix, Happy Chef
Location – 2172 S. Archer Ave. (New Chinatown Mall)
In one word – Tony’s
Food – So this place serves up authentic Szechwan cuisine and overall it’s good. My favorite, by far, was Tony’s chicken. It’s kind of like Sweet and Sour Chicken, except crispier, spicier and not served with that goopy sauce. They have an overwhelming menu (it’s pages and pages). Your best bet is to go with someone who knows a lot about the cuisine and can make informed ordering decisions. Otherwise, it’s a total crap shoot on what you’ll get. Another time I came, I went upstairs to eat hot pot (kind of like Chinese fondue in a way). That was a fun, interactive experience. At the end of the meal, you get your fortune cookie. For the first time in my life, I played the lotto numbers on the back of my fortune…but I didn’t win.
Drink – It’s unclear on whether beer is an option or not here. We tried to order it and were told it’s only served by the case. I didn’t really know what to make of that. You’re better up loading up on the tea that they serve you at the table.
Service – I don’t know of a place in Chinatown that has exceptional service. With that in mind, this place wasn’t THAT bad. I mean, you may not get all of your questions about the menu answered, but you will get your food. Isn’t that all can ask for?
Scene – It’s your standard Chinese restaurant scene. No frills, no one to impress, just good food to eat. It’s fine to come here with a group. There are plenty of large tables here.
Cost – You can get away with paying $20 for an entree and an appetizer.
If you like, try…Happy Chef, Joy Yee’s
Location – 2129 S. China Place (in the New Chinatown Mall)
In one word – Variety
Food – Based on a recommendation from a GB reader, I decided to try this place. I had a great time with the cuisine at KK. They had an illustrative menu (definite plus). I could see what I was ordering before doing so, which was essential as I was unfamiliar with about everything expect the sweet and sour chicken. We ended up ordering the white fish fried with a saki sauce, the fried tofu and portobello mushrooms and the orange chicken. All of which were fantastic, particularly the fish with saki sauce (get that one for sure!). My eating partner also ordered the fried intestines for himself. Call me unadventureous, but I didn’t want anything to do with that. However, props to the restaurant for the variety in the menu. Offering everything from tofu to intestines, that’s pretty impressive.
Drink – We stuck with the jasmine tea.
Service – Yeah, we had to request water a couple times, but I’ve had worse service (see my entry on Crust). All in all, it was fine.
Occasion – This place isn’t a fancy joint. Come here if you’re craving authentic Chinese food. Perhaps come with a group of friends.
Dress – Jeans will do you just fine.
Cost – Each entree will run you $6 – $8. We over ordered, you could easily get by with one entree per person.
If you like, try…Happy Chef, Phoenix