- December 20th, 2010
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This year’s company party didn’t have the fun competitions and instead was a company funded dinner at everyone’s favorite Chinese/Asian fusion restaurant, P.F. Chang’s.
Now, I went into P.F Chang’s with an open mind, hoping that all the negative comments people have been giving me about this place were slightly overblown. I’m going to cut to the chase, they were not slightly overblown.
First off, I’d like to comment on the environment. I think they got that down pat. It’s basically every Chinese/Asian decor stereotype mashed into a restaurant. From the large Chinese mural above the open kitchen to the Terracotta army soldier reproduction guarding my table, it couldn’t have gotten more tacky. The ‘Chinese’ interior of PF Chang’s can be likened to what the inside of Disney’s California Adventure looks like compared to real Califorinia.
Anyway, let’s move to the menu:
Rice – Uncle Ben’s long grain instant or very similar to it. Why not use Calrose rice here? Isn’t California one of the largest growers of Calrose in the world (I think I’m probably mistaking this for one of the largest EXPORTERS of rice in the world, everyone else, like China, eats their rice instead of exporting it)? It’s also cheaper than Uncle Ben’s as far as I know.
Tea – Why would you infuse fruit into oolong tea? Seriously? It wasn’t even loose leaf. Pretty much the worst oolong tea I have ever had. What’s wrong with run of the mill oolong? In fact, every tea they had had some kind of fruit flavoring mixed into it.
Crab Wontons – Okay, let’s imagine a California roll from your local fast food sushi place. Alright. Now, imagine the taste of that (without the rice) inside of an egg roll skin. Got it? Yea, that’s basically what this dish is.
Chang’s Chicken Lettuce wraps – So, have you ever cut a half of head of lettuce in half length wise? Yea, that’s what you’re going to get to wrap your heavily oiled chicken with. I mean, this was arguably the best dish we got all night, so I’ll give credit were credit is due.
Chicken Chopped Salad – Look, there are no salads in Chinese cooking. Thanks for adding the wonton skins though.
Chang’s Spicy Chicken – Not actually spicy. More like, um… not spicy? That’s probably the nicest thing I have to say about this chicken. It’s better and spicier at Panda Express. At least you know Panda isn’t trying to be pretentious about it being ‘gourmet.’
Mongolian Beef – The scallions in this dish were larger than the slices of beef. They were so large, in fact, that I mistook them for green beans and ate an entire mouthful. I blame the super dark lighting in the place for not helping me discern what I was exactly eating. When I was able to get past the large amount of garlic and scallions put in this dish, I felt the beef wasn’t half bad. Slightly sweet with good texture. This was my favorite dish of the night but that’s not saying much.
Shrimp with lobster sauce – I don’t know what to say about this. It was edible and non-offensive. For everyone out there who hasn’t had this dish, it does not actually contain any lobster despite its name.
Lo mein – I’m not sure if this was the combo version or not, but I’m sure they are fairly similar. Once again, nothing remarkable about this dish. I think they are opposed to cutting the cheaper vegetables in PF Chang’s kitchen because those pieces (String beans, broccoli, etc) were definitely whole and plentiful in this dish while the shiitake mushrooms were cut into oblivion. Maybe that’s Paul Fleming’s way of helping Americans deal with a vegetable they don’t eat all the time.
Carrot Cake – Think Hometown buffet-style dessert except less fresh. Done.