Golden Phoenix

The Golden Phoenix in Niskayuna is the best chinese buffer in the area. Like all Chinese buffets, it is very sparse inside. However, there is a great variety of fresh food. If the food was healthier, and less expensive, I could eat there every week.

Not only is the food excellent, there is a large variety of it. Along with the favorites, such as sesame chicken and lo mein, there was also salt and pepper shrimp and pineapple chicken. There was also a nice selection of sushi, from the conventional California rolls to a sushi shrimp tempura roll. The sushi alone would have made a good meal. Add to it Chinese food and a Mongolian bar and I could have eaten well beyond satiety.

One problem I have with this place is that the Mongolian bar asks you to put on your own sauce, rather than putting the sauce on for you. I am not a chef, and I do not know the ingredients in many of the sauces, so I made my dish way too spicy for my tastes. Next time I will ask for the chef's advice before creating my dish.

I give the Golden Phoenix two thumbs up. The variety and quality of their food was superior to any Chinese buffet I have been to in the Capital Region

J Bob Barbecue

J Bob Barbeque is in a very humble building on Route 50 in Ballston Spa. You will recognize it by the bright red color of the building and the huge smoker outside. The parking lot may not be very full, but don't let that dissuade you. Despite the humble exterior, this restaurant serves up some excellent barbecue.

We had the sampler, which included pulled pork, ribs, wings, cole slaw, beans and corn bread. Everything was excellent. Since this is Tennessee style barbecue, it is dry rub and does not have sauce like us Yankees like are used to. However, J Bob does supply the table with three bottles of different barbecue sauces. The sweet one was my favorite. All of the meats were very lean and moist. I particularly liked the wings, which had a strong smoky taste. I was less fond of the pulled pork, which did not have much taste to it.

The cost of our meal was $26, which was a bit pricey for the pound or so of meat that we got. However, I did appeciate the variety of food. If we were looking for value, we could have both ordered pulled pork sandwiches at $7.50 each. Overall, we had a very good experience at J Bob.