Name of Restaurant: Pei Wei: Asian Diner
Location: 1107 Walnut Street, Cary, NC 27511
(“Eat in Five Languages: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese” they claim!)
Time: 8:30 pm
What we ordered:
1. Minced Chicken with Cool Lettuce Wraps
2. Dan Dan Noodles
3. Thai River Noodles
4. 2 Asian(-ish) beers, Tsingao and a-name-I-can’t-remember
$37 something, which in my opinion is very very cheap!!!
1. Ambience: 7/10
2. Service: 9/10
3. Food: 7/10
1. I thought the concept of making a wrap out of a leaf of ice berg lettuce was retarded. They’re a favourite with K, though. He’s been to Pei Wei four times (now five), in the past three months and had this every single time. The leaves came with a reddish brown (vegetarian) keema and this really yum Thai-style peanut sauce (Very Satay-ish). The minced veggies were a mix of Shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, scallions, garlic and soy sauce. The dish was served with some fried ‘kurmure’ thingies that reminded me of ‘kurdya’: Maharashtrian rice-flour fried crisps, anyone?
2. K’s girlfriend says the Dan Dan noodles are quite her favourite. Regular egg noodles served with bean sprouts , cucumbers and a thick gravy made with red chillies, soy sauce, minced chicken, scallions and garlic. The regular Indian chinese, I’d say.
3. The Thai River Noodles were new on the menu and we thought we’d give those a try. Flat noodles served with an array of sauteed veggies: carrots, broccoli, beans, scallions all well tossed in a typical orange gravy: garlic, red chillies, sweet-and-sour style.
4. The service was prompt. We got our food even before we finished our first topic of conversation: sushi!
5. Neither K or his lady, nor me could eat noodles with chopsticks. 😀 Atleast I can eat sushi with chopsticks!
6. The food came in lame plastic bowls and we had to ask for cutlery, which wasn’t that big a deal, really. But I’ll cut points, nevertheless.
7. The place was dimly lit, the booths and tables/chairs of substandard quality. Given the latter, the former didn’t seem to fit too well. Unless, of course, that was there reason for the low prices.
8. So yes, #6 and #7 explain why K was right in that it’s a rip-off of P.F. Chang’s. Yes, Pei Wei is “brought to you by P.F. Chang’s.” Though his girlfriend and I would like to believe it’s a cheapskate sister concern (also a phrase K suggested), I think he wins this one. Dinner left that nasty Chinese taste in my mouth. I like Asian food. I love it, in fact. But any kind of food that leaves an after taste and/or an after-breath, and makes me think twice before opening my mouth when I’m in a car (with other people) will find itself losing a few points on the CookyDoh-Scale.
9. The dinner ranked high on some nice conversation, first time hanging out with a close friend’s girlfriend, and both women thoroughly enjoying one another’s company. I’m pretty sure that meant a helluva lot for K. All in all, ok food but a great dinner!
10. Clearly, I forgot to take my camera along. But as Mr. Bourdain says, savour the moment!