P.F. Chang's – “Changing” It Up

Sunday, November 11, 2012 - by Willie Mae

My son came to get me for our lunch out together and we decided to try P.F. Chang's at Hamilton Place. I had heard a few friends talk about it, some liked it and others did not. I wanted to see for myself.

With a big horse statue out front it is easy to spot. I wasn’t fond of the rotating doors; they are so heavy to push through and I am always scared of being pushed faster than I want to go if somebody is behind me. In my case, I had my son behind me purposefully holding the door back as I went through, making it harder to push. He does things like this so I will swat at him!

We were greeted and seated in this wonderfully open restaurant by a friendly hostess who told us about the specials – but she wasn’t Asian. None of the staff were. I had a few friends tell me that this “Chinese place” wasn’t really Chinese. I have to admit that it did not have that Chinese look about it, I wasn’t sure how I would categorize this place.

Olivia was our waitress and she was very good (my son tells me that I need to stop calling them waitresses because now-days people call them ‘servers’). When I ordered hot ginger-peach tea, she was prompt to ask if I wanted an ice water as well. What a good idea, I appreciated her thoughtfulness. Olivia was not ‘over-pleasing’ but she was everything you would want in a wait… uh server.

My son ordered Moo Goo Gai Pan for $9.95 and I ordered the Lemongrass Salmon with Asparagus for $11.95.

My tea was in a cute little cast iron kettle with a matching trivet but it was full to the top and hard to pour the first cup without spilling. We also had Lettuce Wraps as appetizers for $7.95 – they were not prepared for us; we had to make them ourselves.

My son had no problem putting his together or eating it but I formed mine in the shape of a taco. It was quite messy and once I made it I couldn’t put it down between bites because I was afraid it would come undone. The lettuce gets a bit soggy when you add the goop on it.

We were there at lunch time and it was busy. Oh the salmon was delicious! I had two problems with my meal but it was not the flavor of the food; the meal was absolutely wonderful. But we were given plastic chop sticks and there was no friction which made the food slide right off.

My son may be the lettuce wrap guru but I am a pro when it comes to chop sticks, even when ol’ Arthur acts up! I have many authentic chop sticks at home and one set made from Yew wood came directly from Taiwan when my son was visiting over there some years ago. I understood the sanitary reason these were the slippery and reusable ones but I prefer the old disposable bamboo chop sticks over the pretty shiny ones.

Another problem I had was the long asparagus spears. If one wanted to eat their meal with chop sticks the spears need to be cut. I could eat the salmon and rice fine, but not the asparagus. I would like to know how Chinese people eat their meals with chop sticks on things that are too large to eat in one bite, because I have never seen knives in the place setting at any Asian restaurant.

I had to use my fork to try and cut the spears but that was even hard. I finally did it and proceeded to use my chop sticks.

I did not get any sense of “Chinese” at this restaurant but it was good. Go for the delicious food, the nice staff and the roomy seating - just don’t expect the usual Chinese restaurant. I think the P.F. stands for “pretty fine”.

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