I'm afraid Chicago is not the best place to learn. I agree with Foo. Even good American Chinese is hard to find. Our recs for other ethnic, and especially Asian restaurants, were probably more worthwhile.
The Pheonix is decent for dim sum. You have better options for evening-time cuisine.
Foo, off (the derailed) topic. Just saw your pic in the contest page--the one with the navy jacket. Looks very good.