I love Grand House. Itâ€™s not an every-weekend restaurant for me mostly due to my budget, but Iâ€™ve always liked it. Iâ€™ve also been looking across the street for quite some time wondering about Golden Phoenix. A small mention of it in an article from the â€œFrugal Travelerâ€ in the New York Times first sparked my interest. A few people have mentioned it to me since then, but itâ€™s the walk to Grand House from my car thatâ€™s always left me thinking, â€œI should try that place sometime?â€ I finally made the trip and I’m now convinced that what lies across the street is some of the best Asian food in Oklahoma City.
Within the first 10 minutes I was there, someone purchased an entire roasted pig, which has to be a good sign to me. If it wasnâ€™t a very tasty place, why would someone purchase 20 pounds or more of pig? Also, with summer coming, itâ€™s good to know I’ve found a spot I can procure a few remarkable items for my backyard luau.
Roast duck at the ready (Photos by the fabulous Lacey Dillard)
My first time there, my husband and I were so completely excited by all the options, we kind of over-ordered – we had no idea the portions were so generous! With just two appetizers and two entrÃ©es, it really looked like we had enough food for four to six people at our table.
I did save enough room to finish my entire order of Lemongrass Shrimp. I love anything with lemongrass lately – it tastes even better than it sounds, which is pretty appealing to begin with. It has a lightly sweet, lemony flavor, and as soon as I find some soap or body wash in this scent, I will be bathing in it.
My husbandâ€™s favorite dish has been the Filet Mignon Stir-Fry (only 12.95.) The filet is so soft it reminds me of the steaks my grandmother made me as a child. Sheâ€™d cut everything into such tiny pieces that I wouldnâ€™t really chew on it so much as extract the flavor out of it until there was nothing left.
The smell of the fresh basil in steamed clams is part of my personal version of aromatherapy. The Garden Rolls with â€œspecial tofuâ€ had a really satisfyingly addictive crunch – this, to me, is the definition of appetizer.
My favorite appetizer! (Photos by the spectacular Lacey Dillard)
The real show stopper, though – and a sure way to impress a date – is the Hot Pot, or Chinese Fondue. We ordered a Hot Pot with squid, shrimp, beef, and chicken for two, which could easily be enough for three. Every Hot Pot also comes with a side of leafy vegetables (like bok choy) and noodles.
First, the server(s) brings you an individual gas burner set under a two-chambered dish with alternate types of broth: one is made with a little spice, and one without. We let the broths get a nice simmer going, and then started cooking. The chicken wasnâ€™t raw since it takes longer to cook, but the other ingredients were completely uncooked. It seems a little complicated, but itâ€™s actually as easy as cheese fondue.
The two-chambered pot. (Photos by the talented Lacey Dillard)
Some people dump everything on their dishes into the pot and wait for the broths to come back to a boil. I’m the investigational type – I preferred to take turns deciding what combination of broth and vegetables tasted better to me. The beef was so thinly sliced that it cooked almost instantly. The squid kind of curled up when it was ready, and it had that just-right buttery goodness. The shrimp turned from purple to pink when they were done – like edible hyper-colored t-shirts! They tasted fresh and had a nice thickness to them that feels more substantial than what Iâ€™ve been purchasing at the grocery market lately.
Chicken before the magic happens. (Photos by the insightful Lacey Dillard)
The chicken tasted like it had been cooked with a hint of lemongrass before they brought it to the table, but it also might have just been catching a flavor in the broth better then the other components. Of course, I fell in love.
How to add bok choy and noodles… (Photos by the naturalistic Lacey Dillard)
…gracefully. (Photos by the expressive Lacey Dillard)
Golden steam! (Photos by the fabulous Lacey Dillard)
I ate a Thanksgiving feast’s worth of food, but I came out feeling happy and energetic afterwards. This year, I’m setting out to have at least one dish from every section of the menu at Golden Phoenix. Maybe I’ll try their Barbequed Roast Duck on my next visit, or maybe I’ll choose something that would require me cracking some crab legs. Either way, i expect nothing more than â€œGoldenâ€ (sorry! I had one last allotted pun left and I had to use it). Take a trip on your own and enjoy the fabulous tastes of Golden Phoenix.
Golden Phoenix (Kim Phung in Vietnamese)
Open for lunch and dinner all week
2728 North Classen Boulevard
(c) Kim Hickerson All rights reserved. Contact Kim to suggest a restaurant, talk about any of the articles she’s written so far, or gab about food by sending her an email.