Sunshine Moon Peking Pub

Posted by Shawn | Posted in Asian | Posted on 13-01-2011

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mongolian beef

In the last year alone, Old Town Scottsdale has gone from having very few options to having a decent selection when it comes to Chinese food.  In the past when you wanted to satisfy that late night craving that only Asian food could fill, you basically had to head to one of the popular sushi joints or go to PF Chang’s by the mall.  However Rich Sullivan, one of the original creators of PF Chang’s, saw an opportunity to fill that gap and offer a more relaxed atmosphere to satisfy those of us left wandering Old Town with empty stomachs.

Enter Sunshine Moon Peking Pub, a laid back restaurant offering tasty dishes from different Asian regions but with a Chinese food focus.  From Mongolian Beef to Soft Egg Noodles with Fried Egg, this “pub” has some solid choices to go well with a cold beer or their extensive wine list.  After reading about initial press releases for Sunshine Moon and hearing from their active Twitter account (@ChineseChow), I decided to give their food a try.  Our group would be trying over 10 dishes to really get a feel for the place.

sunshine moon exterior

One of the first things to do when I enter any place calling themselves a pub is order a beer.  Sunshine Moon offers 3 beers on draft which are Anchor Steam, Sapporro and Michelob while having about 10 others in bottles.  They also have a bar seating area with a TV which could make for a good place to stop on the weekends to fill up on Chinese before heading out to the popular spots in Old Town…if that’s your scene.  I will say though that the prices are just a bit higher than normal for drinks, with a draft beer averaging $7 and bottles around $5 or $6.  The wine list however was good size and prices were reasonable by the glass.

Veggie Spring Rolls at Sunshine Moon

Now for the food. Here’s a quick rundown of what we tried:

Appetizer

  • Cucumber Salad
  • Asian Chicken Wings
  • Shrimp Dumplings
  • Veggie Spring Rolls
  • Coconut Shrimp
  • Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Entree

  • Mongolian Beef
  • Orange Peel Chicken
  • Shrimp in Lobster Sauce
  • Soft Noodles with Soft Egg
  • Peking Pub Burger
  • Twice Woked Noodles with Chicken

pork dumpling

Right off the bat I noticed that if 2 or 3 appetizers were combined they would make a perfect meal in themselves.  My pick would be to have the Chicken Wings and Shrimp Dumplings next time I come back.  The wings had a nice glaze to them that made for a sweet and sour flavor, which I later found out was a result of pineapple, honey and a vinegar glaze among  a few other ingredients.  The shrimp dumplings on the other hand had virtually no glaze or flavor on the outside but the inside was what hit you.  The shrimp was good and paired with the ginger-honey dipping sauce it came with, I could sit at the bar and pop these things all night long.

As for the other appetizers, the only other one I was really impressed with was the Bacon Wrapped Asparagus.  First off, what’s not to like about bacon wrapped anything? And second, asparagus could be one of my favorite vegetables so this combo was a winner with me.  The chef uses hickory-smoked bacon around six spears of asparagus and then stacks them onto a small mound.  This was another thing I could see myself just eating all night but it’s a good thing I didn’t or I’d have to walk home to burn it off.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus at Sunshine Moon

Next up…entrees.  Let me start by saying that P.F. Chang’s has or used to have similar dishes and I remember people on Yelp complaining of too much salt, but it seems that is not a problem here.  The Mongolian Beef was by far the crowd favorite at the table, served with green and yellow onions.  My next choice would be the soft noodles with “soft egg” which is essentially a fried egg on top.  Combined with chicken it was refreshing to have some soft egg noodles among all the rice and crispier appetizers.  But on the flip side, I would warn against the Peking Pub Burger unless you really want to feel full.  The burger comes with grilled onions and a special mayonnaise which can have a fried egg and bacon added to it for $1.50 each.  All this served on top of a Brioche bun made for a messy and very heavy (filling) burger that I just can’t justify for $13 after egg and bacon are added.

Soft Noodles at Sunshine Moon

However all together I would say Sunshine Moon has something going for them in the gap their trying to fill.  It may not be gourmet Chinese or authentic, but they’re not trying to be and they do a good job of providing tasty food in a fun atmosphere.  I’ll end in saying that most dishes here really do go great with a drink from the bar and would make a great start to a night out in Old Town Scottsdale.

Tip: Happy hour goes from 4-6 pm Tuesday – Friday and Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is on the menu along with drinks starting at $4.

http://www.sunshinemoonpekingpub.com/

4175 N. Goldwater Blvd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

YC’s Mongolian Grill

Posted by Shawn | Posted in Asian | Posted on 09-12-2010

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YC's Bowl of Goodness

First things first… my apologies for not having written a post in 3 weeks, but in my defense it wasn’t my fault! My friends, who are critical to this site, decided it was time to go all soft on me and start eating healthy while trying to spend little money on meals.  We all know that is an impossible combination because healthy food costs money these days unless you want to cook all the time, which now that I think of it doesn’t help me either.  I need to go out and eat! That is what this site is all about and now that I have that off my chest, let me reward everyone’s patience with one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures: YC’s Mongolian Grill.  Yes I know…this place is a chain, but I never said I wouldn’t review a chain and I’m not one of those food bloggers who cares.  If it’s good and worth a visit in my opinion, it’s worthy of free press.

YC's line

Here are my top reasons to visit YC’s:

  1. You have a hankering for noodles or vegetables.
  2. You want a crap load of food for 10 bucks.
  3. You don’t want that food mentioned in #2 to be gross or overly unhealthy.
  4. This fantastic, thoughtful and somewhat well written blog convinced you to go.

Oh and to add to that list, it’s absolutely delicious! Seriously, YC’s is some of the best weeknight food in the Valley (depending on how you make your bowl).  It always hits the right spot with me even if it puts me into a food coma every time without fail.  But don’t think that you have to eat as much as I do when you go, because YC’s is a serve yourself establishment and it’s up to you on how much you’re willing to lug around in your stomach. Just be sure to add more than 3 ingredients to your bowl, because nothing makes me sadder than seeing someone fill theirs with meat, noodles and sauce.  There are so many good ingredients to try and when the food hits the wok, the more the better.

soy

Standard procedure at YC’s is to order your bowl size (small or large, prices depending on lunch or dinner) and then start your way down the line.  You gradually fill your bowl with freeze dried meats (beef, chicken, turkey, pork and/or fish), then pile on the vegetables ranging from spinach to water chestnuts before making your way to the noodles.  This is where you can tell a veteran from a rookie, because veterans will pile noodles on their bowl until it’s about to topple over whereas rookies politely put two scoops of noodles over their deflated looking bowl.  Consider yourself in the know! Finally, slide your way over to the sauces and add either the thought-out recipes found on the menu or just create your own masterpiece.  Hand the bowl over to the cooks and they’ll wok your bowl until it’s ready and then place it back on your tray.  Sounds straightforward? Well it’s not that simple…

YC's cooks

Now for my method.  First, when you order your bowl tell the host/hostess it’s to go.  They’ll charge you the extra 50 cents but it won’t be for nothing because you’re going to ask them for a couple extra soup bowls (Hint: These bowls won’t necessarily be used for soup only) and you’re going to walk out with a lot more food. With your two soup to-go bowls in hand, pick up the large bowl and walk over to the line.  Grab a piece of tissue paper on your way (in front of the line) because you’re going to need that when squishing down the food.  Load up on meats next because trust me, the freeze dried meats shrink when cooked and if you don’t load up you’ll be left thinking “Didn’t I put meat in here? Huh. Funny, I don’t see any”.  After you’ve packed your bowl with meat (almost to the top), slide over the veggies.

Here are my veggies not to be missed and why:

  • Bean sprouts: Deliciously crunchy in a sea of soft food after being cooked
  • Carrots: Large slices don’t shrink making for some recognition of your bowl and convincing you that you did indeed put veggies in it (the noodles mask the veggies)
  • Spinach: Leafy vegetables are hard to find in this line
  • Water Chestnuts: The only other crunchy vegetable
  • Onions: Added flavor and they soak up some of the sauce somehow
  • Chives: Who doesn’t love chives?

Ok so once you’re done with the vegetables and added as many as you could before it looked like a strange salad, you’re going to want to look like a veteran here and pile those noodles.  They have rice noodles which are flat, tasteless and just overall boring in my opinion (but easier to pack) and they have egg noodles, which make for a great looking noodle tower.  Make sure to load them on there until they fall off and people start looking at you…that’s when you’re ready.  The sauce menu is fine and all but you honestly won’t taste much of a difference between combinations, because at some point everything just tastes like YC’s.  My friend has a theory that no matter what you mix, you always get the same tasting bowl with hardly noticeable differences.  Not sure on this theory yet, but I’m testing it.

Mongolian Menu

Finally, when you walk over to the cooks, tell them it’s to go.  They’ll hand you a baggie filled with a drink, small box and utensils.  What you put in that box is up to you: peanuts, won-ton chips, cilantro, etc…but what’s important here is that those cooks will give you back your full bowl, no matter how many to-go boxes it takes.  When you order the food for sit down, they only fill your bowl and then slide the rest of your food off the wok.  If your bowl didn’t fill two boxes, you haven’t done it right!  Now for those soup bowls, feel free to fill them with soup, rice or more of the aforementioned goodies, but now you have effectively 5 carrying containers. All for 10 bucks and it can easily can make 2 to 3 meals.

YC's Mongolian Take Out

You can now walk out happy knowing you’ve taken full advantage of your options and that you’re about to be in a wonderful food coma.

Tip: This whole blog post was pretty much a tip, so read it in case you just skipped down to here!

http://www.ycs-mongoliangrill.com/

5 locations across Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert.