Yesterday at PF Changs. . . a Review

Having two small children and family members who are allergic to many different things going to Asian restaurants is rather difficult.  PF Changs was one restaurant that was on the gray list.  The kids are always too tired to sit still or stay awake after a long day far from home and if we are with extended family it’s just not even an option.  My problem lies with the fact I was not familiar with the menu and totally unaware of what gluten free and/or sugar free options were available.  I found out, to my surprise and delight, they have a dedicated Gluten-Free menu and a whole listing of what meals would affect what allergies and how they can be modified.  That made me feel better about visiting their restaurant in the future.

Yesterday DH and I had the opportunity to have a date day.  We took off early and wound up having lunch at a PF Changs in our area.  I had just found out I was pregnant with DD2 the last time we ate there; she’s four now.  We were seated right away and given menus.  We were so hungry that we decided fairly quickly what we wanted.  PF Changs has recently added sushi to their offerings and I kinda like it so I figured why not.  DH likes the meaty stir-fries with sweet and spicy components.

First we ordered some hot tea and the Flaming Red Wontons as an appetizer.  The tea is fabulous – I couldn’t stop drinking it (I need to find out what brand of tea that is).  The peachy overtones and the bite of a bit of what tasted like green tea was pleasant and refreshing.  The Flaming Red Wontons came out very quickly.  Six in a plate filled with hot garlic-chili sauce that smelled fantastic and tasted even better.  The green onions were a nice fresh component to the pork wontons (mmmmmm, pig).  One thing I did not like was that the chop sticks were made of plastic.  It was virtually impossible to pick up the slippery wontons with the chopsticks.  I even ended up dropping mine a time or two before succeeding on getting it into my mouth.  I gave up, resorted to my western ways and used a fork to finish.

For our main course I ordered a cup of Hot and Sour soup and Dynamite Scallop Rolls.  The Hot and Sour soup was a bit on the salty side, but still one of if not the best Hot and Sour soup I’ve ever had.  The Dynamite Scallop sushi roll was a typical California Roll cut into 8 pieces and topped with scallops and what they call spicy dynamite sauce.  After tasting the first roll I wished I had gotten something else.  The California roll alone would have been better.  The scallops were diced so small you could barely taste them and the dynamite sauce was barely spicy and more like an orange mayonnaise that did nothing but overwhelm the dish with its super-richness.  I couldn’t eat the last two pieces and had to pick the little bits of scallop out of the sauce on the second two I ate.  The option was definitely not worth the extra $3.

DH ordered the Wonton Soup and Orange Peel Beef with brown rice.  DH prefers wonton soup to hot and sour because he doesn’t care for the texture of the tofu or the sliminess of the mushrooms (but I really like it, slimy and all).  He though was not impressed with this particular bowl of wonton soup.  In his estimation, he’s had better. When we received the dish of Orange Peel “Beef” to the table it looked good, but DH noticed it didn’t look like beef (I didn’t hear what he ordered so I just assumed he had gotten chicken).  Turns out they made the Orange Peel Chicken instead of the Beef.  It was supposed to be spicy but it was sickening sweet.  The chicken was very tender though.  We informed the waitress who immediately apologized, said she’d leave the chicken for us to enjoy while we waited for the Orange Peel Beef to arrive.  The beef was thinly sliced, very lightly breaded and crispy on the outside and coated in the same sauce as the chicken.  Unfortunately, the beef was not as pleasantly tender as the chicken which was disappointing.  Still the spice he was expecting was just not there.  It was so sweet he could not finish the plate.    We ended up taking home two servings of rice, most of the chicken, half of the beef and two of the eight pieces of sushi.

We started our visit to PF Changs on a high note with attentive service, fantastic appetizers and wonderful tea (and my Hot & Sour soup, yum).  Unfortunately, our visit did not end on that equally high note.  Neither DH nor I were impressed with the main dishes we had chosen.  Next time I think I’ll stick to their “traditional” menu and get a stir fry or noodle dish.   If we ever choose to get the Orange Peel dish in any incarnation we’ll ask for less sugar and lots more spice.   If, and that’s a big IF, I ever get sushi there again I will NOT get anything with the dynamite sauce.  Overall, P.F. Changs did well.  Great on the speed and friendliness of the service, but this time only 50/50 on the food.  PF Changs has such an extensive menu so we’ll be sure to go back again.

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