Dragon Phoenix Chinese Restaurant: Saving Christmas Dinner
Don't let an overcooked turkey ruin your Christmas dinner! Shogun Japanese Steakhouse and Dragon Phoenix Chinese Restaurant will be open to save any Christmas dinner mishaps.
Oh, no! Aunt Mae overcooked the turkey again. A Christmas dinner of bland sides isn't going to cut it, either. It's Christmas day. Your choices are limited as it is, so why bother racking your brain? Take the family up to Hall Road and Romeo Plank to Shogun Japanese Steakhouse/Dragon Phoenix Chinese Restaurant.
There are two restaurants at this location. On one side is Shogun Japanese Steakhouse, which specializes in teppanyaki style dining. I reviewed Shogun's Saint Clair Shores location recently focusing on teppanyaki and sushi. The menus are the same in both locations.
The difference is in the Chinese restaurant that is attached to Shogun, the Dragon Phoenix Chinese Restaurant. With an interior like every other Chinese restaurant, the menu is what makes Dragon Phoenix special.
The menu has American-Chinese fare like almond chicken, General Tso's and pepper steak, and traditional Chinese dishes like hot pos with oysters, walnut shrimp and short ribs.
Before you order food, why not get into the holiday spirit with a drink? The back of Dragon Phoenix's menu is dedicated to specialty drinks. I was told that the mai tai was the house specialty. Any drink that makes you forget about the snow outside is fine by me. Oh, and it comes with an umbrella garnish–how cute is that?
Our waitress was extremely helpful and more than willing to offer suggestions of some exemplary dishes. On to our little culinary adventure ...
Calamari has become passe. It shows up on nearly every menu and is almost always prepared in the same way: battered, deep fried and served with marinara sauce. Although it is fried, the calamari at Dragon Phoenix is surprisingly different.
The dish is called "spicy calamari" and with good reason. The perfectly fried, tender calamari is topped with a blend of garlic, fresh sliced jalapenos and chile flakes. While it won't light your mouth on fire, this appetizer definitely will make your taste buds stand at attention. This dish is in a different world compared to your uncle's ham and cream cheese roll ups.
If you are hungry, you can turn your entree into a complete meal for an additional $2. This will add soup (egg drop or wonton), egg roll and dinner roll to your meal. The wonton soup was nothing special (but is it ever?). The egg roll was surprisingly tasty. Brought to the table piping hot and stuffed with pork, this egg roll had a pleasantly sweet, spicy flavor.
A sweet and spicy followup to the egg roll is the house special beef, a savory combination of fried beef, green peppers, and onions topped with a sweet and spicy sauce that is similar to BBQ sauce. Texturally exciting with an almost fruity sweetness, deep frying the beef makes for a crispy exterior and tender interior. The portion size is large, so order one to share with one or two other people.
Since it is Christmas, my best recommendation would be to go back home for dessert. Maybe some pumpkin pie, cookies, or peppermint bark would do the trick. Dessert at Dragon Phoenix is OK at best. The choices are cheesecake or ice cream. The ginger ice cream is fine – creamy, buttery and gently spicy. Nothing to skip a gingerbread man over.
Dragon Phoenix will not replace the traditional Christmas for most families, but you could do much worse. The food is above average and the service is very helpful. If you're stuck without decent dinner plans on Christmas, ride your sleigh over to Hall Road for some Chinese cuisine.
Both Dragon Phoenix and Shogun are open Christmas Eve 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and Christmas Day noon to 11 p.m.