Coming from the East Coast, John and I are spoiled when it comes to authentic Chinese Cuisine. The exotic menu, flavors, and of course, dim sum. Now living in the San Antonio area, we have been searching for a great place to go for Chinese food. After several failures, we found the Phoenix Chinese Café in San Antonio.
Our first venture to the cafe, which is in a strip mall on West Avenue, was heavenly. Phoenix does offer two menus, so make sure if you are looking for authentic Chinese food to ask for the Chinese and Dim Sum menu or else you will automatically get the Americanized menu (which has your General Tao’s Chicken, chow mein, etc.).
Since that first venture, I have been recommending Phoenix to everyone. I thought it was that good.
With every bite we felt like we were back on the East Coast, sitting at a small, casual table with steaming beef and rice soup and crunchy shrimp balls and sesame balls. The food came out hot and delicious. Our search had finally ended, or so we thought. I’m not entirely sure anymore.
The reason I say this on our last visit to Phoenix, which was my time to review the restaurant, was not a very pleasant experience. We are used to a more friendly service, but this night was not so much as unfriendly as non-existent. Our food did not come out at the same time, and what I ordered was cold. I’m not saying that the food was cooked well and it sat too long. I’m saying it came out of the refrigerator and was plopped on the plate cold. I understand prepping your food for service but cold food does not promote freshness. It appears as pre-cooked, re-heating laziness. And this was after everyone else had long been passing their dishes around for everyone to try what they ordered.
In my reviews I go through what we ordered, the atmosphere, and the friendliness of the staff. I usually state my opinions on what was good about the establishment, what I think needs work, and follow-up with what I like the best. This time however, it was so underwhelming I will just say that hopefully they were just having a bad night. Then maybe I can recommend Phoenix Chinese Café again. But, until then, if you want to venture out in San Antonio, and are brave, try Phoenix and let me know your experience. And, remember, you have to ask for the authentic menu or else you will automatically get the American version.