Saturday, February 12, 2011

P. F. Chang's

     For my birthday this year, I was treated to lunch by hubby at P. F. Chang's.  I'd heard about this restaurant before and knew there was one in the city.  Good thing though there also happens to be one on Long Island, in Westbury. It's located at The Source, a mall that used to house Fortunoff department store.

     The P. F. Chang's in Westbury, NY is a good sized restaurant that gives off a cozy vibe that feels intimate in a spacious environment.  There are two entrances, the main one in front facing the street and a kind of back entrance coming in from the mall.   Coming in from the main entrance we were greeted with the usual hostess podium in front of a glass divider.  As we walked past this area we come upon the bar followed by a wood divider that separated it from the main dining area.  The entire restaurant is done in dark paneling, with soft overhead and wall lighting.  There are booths lining the walls on two sides, separate tables in the center between the bar and the kitchen.  The kitchen is partly visible from the dining area, but not enough to be able to see your food being actually prepared.  In keeping with the Chinese theme, decor is mostly of the faux terracotta soldiers and horses type.  The most noticeable of these are the two gigantic (no other word can describe them) horses that flank the divider between the bar and the main dining area.  They were so huge they looked more like elephants.  I found myself imagining bringing one home and putting it on the front lawn, hehehe.
     The menu offered a good sized selection of appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks.  For starters Jojo ordered the Steamed Pork Dumplings.  These are six pieces per order with an accompanying dipping sauce of soy sauce and chili oil.  Reminiscent of siu mai, these were very tasty and we could've each eaten a dozen of them easily.  But we restrained ourselves enough to order entrees.  Jojo, as per usual, ordered Chicken Lo Mein and Chang's Spicy Chicken, which is their version of General Cho's Chicken.  I was torn between getting the Cantonese Scallops and the VIP Duck.  I was remembering the Pecking duck I'd tasted back in Hong Kong that was utterly delicious.  But I was watching my cholesterol and decided to be a good girl.  So Cantonese Scallops it was.  I also ordered a side of Spinach Stir-fried with Garlic.  The serving sizes were not humongous as per the usual in most restaurants but were good enough for the two of us.  Jojo was actually thinking the noodles might not be enough for the two of us but we really got our fill from everything we ordered and even had to doggy bag some of the food.  I loved everything we ordered, except for the scallops.  I guess they were aiming for subtle seasoning, maybe in the hope of letting the natural flavor of the scallops come through.  Unfortunately, for me, that didn't happen.  Instead I got a rather bland dish that left me deeply regretting passing on the duck.  The only good thing about that dish were the snow peas which were perfectly done.  Happily, that was the only disappointment.  The Lo Mein was very flavorful without the usual greasiness of this noodle dish.  I loved their version of General Cho's chicken, which was tender and not overly breaded, unlike the usual take out version.  The side dish of spinach really was garlicky as advertised, just the way I like garlic dishes to be.  To round out our meal we ordered The Great Wall of Chocolate for dessert.  This is a huge slice of six layers of rich chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache, served with sliced strawberries, blueberries and peaches in raspberry sauce.  Being chocoholics, it was a natural choice for hubby and me.  And boy was it heavenly!  The combination of the rich chocolatiness of the cake and the fruits and raspberry sauce were perfection.  The only thing missing was coffee but I decided to pass on it since I was already near to bursting by this time.

     With regards to service, I was quite satisfied.  I don't know if it was due to the restaurant not being busy when we were there, but our server was attentive and quite prompt.  I liked that we didn't have to call attention to our drinks when we needed refills. When we asked to have some of the extra food doggy bagged, I was pleasantly surprised when our server did it for us.  Usually these days, they just bring you the containers and bag and you have to pack the food yourself.  Our server even folded the paper bag in such a way that made sure it wasn't going to spill open.  Just a little thing but it was nice to have that kind of service.

     Overall I definitely enjoyed our first time at P. F. Chang's.  And I'm glad to know that the next time I'm craving Chinese food I won't have to go to the city.  So, any one up for some Chinese?

© Margj Castillo, In Review, 2010 - Present.

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