P. F. Chang’s

Name of Restaurant: P. F. Chang’s China Bistro
Location: Crabtree Valley Mall, 4325 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27612

Cuisine: Chinese
Date: 12/05/2010
Time: 8:30 pm

P. F. Ch(i)ang?

What we ordered:
1. Crab Wontons
2. Sichuan Chicken Flatbread
3. Chang’s Chicken Noodle Soup
4. Kinsen Plum Wine
5. 3 of 8 mini desserts: Great Wall of Chocolate, Tiramisu and Tres Leche Lemon Dream

We paid:
$42 (about $34 for food and wine, for two people. A very very satisfying meal)

Rating:
1. Ambience: 8/10
2. Service: 7.5/10
3. Food: 9.5/10

Notes:
1. It is not a bistro. It is a pretty-fancy, almost-upscale restaurant.
2. Our waiter, Josh, was adorable. I think I crushed on him over the duration of the dinner. When he looked at my ID, he said I was born just three days after him. I’m hoping he meant that along with teh 1986. Older guy, Wo0t! I also left an extra tip because I thought he was so attractive. Sometimes I wonder if I should give dating a non-Indian a thought again.
3. My visit to Pei Wei and K-man’s rant about how Pei Wei is a rip off of PF Chang’s all makes sense now. I noticed, while we dined that night, that a bunch of things on their menu were pretty much identical. I noticed, while we dined that night, that a bunch of things on their menu were pretty much identical. The websites are similar too!!!
4. G made a fantastic observation a few years ago, he said, that Sichuan is what we call Schezwan (and it’s multiple spellings) back home. The two provinces in China that have cuisines that are strong on the taste buds in terms of the level of spice are Hunan and Sichuan. Mainland China does not have the Schezwan variation to its dishes. It has Sichuan. And as far as the Manchurian Mystery goes, we’ll have that cracked soon enough.
5. First came Josh. With a tray with three little bottles in it. Vinegar. Soy sauce. Chilli oil. And three little ceramic bowls. Brown mustard. Peanut Sauce. Chilli paste. He set the tray on the table. NO questions asked, he drizzled some chilli oil and some soy sauce into the peanut sauce. Added a dash of the chilli paste and mixed away. And ensured he spilled a lot of it all over the tray. That was a turn off. Too bad for him I’m not entirely fond of peanut sauce. So his on-the-spot sauce wasn’t too tasty, in my opinion. The chilli paste was more like the Schezwan sauce we get at the Chinese thelas back home and I enjoyed that. The mustard sent that tingling feeling up my nose, and that I believe is the true sign of good mustard.
6. Then came the flatbread and the wontons. The flatbread was tasty. The coleslaw that was served with it was different. They claim it’s creamy Asian slaw. So, the chicken flatbread was something like a chicken/beef quesadilla from Taco Bell, only much much better: Cheese, marinated chicken and some grilled veggies, all packed together and toasted between tortilla wraps (or that’s what it looked like!) and served in triangular pieces.
7. Super crunchy wontons. And delicious crab meat stuffing, lightly flavoured with garlic. The wontons were served with plum sauce. I LOVE plum sauce.

The flatbread (up front) and the wontons (in the back)

8. With the appetizers, we’d ordered a bowl of their chicken noodle soup. It wasn’t a bowl. It was three bowls of soup per person. Six bowls of AWESOME soup. Or well, one gigantic bowl. 🙂 It was the perfect-for-the-wineters kind of soup. Tangy, tomato based chicken stock. Chunks of chicken. Lots of veggies. Shiitake mushrooms. And noodles which looked like they had been made in the kitchen, strangley white and fat, like little pieces of white gaanthiya gone soft. Alright, I know that sound’s a little digusting, but they were quite tasty. The soup, fabulous.

A barrel of scrumdiddlyumptious soup, sans the barrel

9. The plum wine was sweet and fruity and I think I was really tired because I (a) pretty much gulped the wine down and (b) had a mild buzz going.
10. The portions of food were huge. And for the price we paid for them, I’m amazed. I’d have expected P. F. Chang’s to be a little over rated. I had imagined the food to be great but the portions to be small. I was obviously wrong about the latter. An extremely sumptuous meal.
11. They had mini desserts for $2.25 each. We could pick from a set of 8 desserts: Tiramisu, Red Velvet Cake, Apple Pie, Tres Leche Lemon Dream, Great Wall of Chocolate, and a couple of other names I just can’t seem to remember. (Funny I don’t have access to the website!!!)

L-to-R: Tiramisu, Tres Leche Lemon Dream, Great Wall of Chocolate

The lemon dessert was sour in a weird way and wasn’t particularly something I’d like to have again. The Great Wall of chocolate was INDULGENT, much like a scoop of the Chocolate Devotion at Cold Stone. The tiramisu was perfect. I’ve had a lot of great tasting tiramisus. I, hereby, add one more to the list.
12. The menu on the web tells me they have Wine Flights! Boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I am SO going there again. Flights reminds me, I need to check if Village Draft House has Beer Flights. Assuming my dinner plan with my Gora Fraand is on, I was hoping on going to Village Draft House. But Flying Saucer works just fine. Let’s hope I’m going out this weekend, then!

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