China Stix in Santa Clara suggestions?
A recommendation from a trusted (foodie) colleague. As we were told from the onset that "it won't look like much on the outside" and it didn't--to complete the visual it didn't look like much on the inside either. But we were there for the Peking Duck! The same duck that seemed to elude us in Beijing--or was it?
We tried in Beijing to communicate, we really did! My goal was to say 2 things--Hello, pronounced, "nee how," and thank you pronounced, "shia shia." I felt stupid, but I did make an effort. Communications in China otherwise was impossible, even simple sign language went no where--painfully slowly!
Well, communicating with our waiter was like trying to communicate with our taxi driver in Beijing. IMPOSSIBLE!
I wanted Tsing Tao, but I tried to get the hot sake on the menu, but as much as I tried I ended up with cold hot sake. My daring Sous Chef tried the plum wine that was so sweet we could have made Shirley temples for all of china!
SWITCH! Tsing Tao, and Chardonnay!
Let's just say we got the Peking Duck for 2, not that it says it's for 2 on the menu, but when asked if it would be enough for 2 we were told, "it is a whole duck! With pancakes."
Okay we came for the duck, why mess it up with any other flavors, or possible disappointments? The duck, and only the duck, it shall be! For 2.
It was presented very nicely with head and beak included--no extra charge!
The skin was crispy, the meat was juicy, the fat was all but nonexistent! The pancakes were individually handmade, the Hoisin sauce was sweet, but not too sweet, and the scallions were uniformly sliced thin and not over powering.
By the way, when we mentioned that we wanted Peking duck 3 ways our waiter asked us as if we were lunatics if we saw that on TV or something--and we must have it because it was on TV! (he also mentioned that we wouldn't like the soup any way--way number 2 of 3, because it looks unappetizing with the duck bones sticking out--annoying American's watching too much TV!)
If you understand that you are there for very good Peking Duck and not so much else--It was that. I enjoyed it very much and will be going back!
My complete review at: http://www.irasciblechef.com/china-stix/
This is one of my family's favorite restaurants for their consistency and location, even if its not the absolute best place. The menu online doesn't include all the banquet options as Yimster mentioned. If its a really large group, that will probably give you the best value for the amount of food. But if you want to order off the regular menu, here are a few of my family's favorite items:
- pompom chicken (I think they also call it lollipop chicken) and its not on the menu but if you ask for it they'll make it. Its chicken wings and drumettes lightly fried and then sauteed in a garlicky sauce with a kick. Even Grandma likes this one.
- dry sauteed green beans. usually cooked pretty well but sometimes its not as flavorful as it could be. it must depend on who's the cook that day. its pan fried with garlic and preserved veggies. one of my all time favorite veggie dishes.
- sizzling rice soup. clear broth type soup with shrimp, chicken, pork and veggies. they add fried puffed rice that sizzles when it hits the hot soup.
- HK style pan fried noodles. good topping to noodle ratio. they do a good job getting the noodles crispy on the edges and nice and chewy on the sauce covered parts.
I have been to a few large dinners at China Stix but we have never order from the menu that you linked too. China Stix like many Chinese place's have set menu starting a about S150 plus or minus and going to S400 plus or minus.
I also helped a friend booked a baby party. The food all those times were good to very good.
I recommend that someone in your group go ahead of time to review the menu's. The Lady owner speaks very good English and will help you out if you desire you want to do that. Pick the one you like best and if need be ask to change out dishes you do not like. It is petty common to change one or two at the most.
I have Northern style dim sum bunches on the weekend and it was good. Hope this helps. But if the group wants to just order dishes then just pice the ones you like because they have always been good. If you want dishes I will have to check my some of the programs from the club I belong to that has the meeting there.
Reporting back -- I'll echo those who replied. Solid dinner and friendly and flexible staff. This was a professional group 'business' meeting and we kept a large table occupied the entire night. I brought wine and I think the corkage was $3 a bottle. We ended up doing the $148/10 Chinese only set meal enhanced by a number of added vegetarian meals to keep our veggie folks happy. One of the group spoke and read and that may have helped get the tasty meal that we got, but again the staff were very supportive. The food specifically was not the very best in the Bay Area but I would heartily recommend for a large disparate group.
BTW, hang a right when you come out and check out the hidden Portuguese bakery a few doors down. Great Portuguese sweet bread for morning! What got me was the baking of crunchy almond-scented baked rounds -- fresh out of the oven... heavenly smell wafting through the stripmall and very addictive. After the meal, finding this place made me feel like I was in Macau.