The experience

Well, my initial plans to go to Nordstrom’s N Bistro were quickly thwarted when Mina decided she wanted, yet again, First Chinese BBQ.  Not obvious to her, we could not eat there.  I’d already planned to take the childsplate meal on my shoulders, so I told her we could eat at PF Chang’s instead.  Not my favorite choice for Chinese, but Mina would be happy.  So we ate up before our shopping extravaganza.

Since we arrived at 4:45, we had no problems being seated right away.  We got a lovely booth to sit at Mina was excited. 

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The reason she was so into Chinese today is that at Pier One, the store we’d just left, she bought herself a Chinese yo-yo.  The booth gave her plenty of room to continue to yo-yo away.

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We ordered pot stickers first.  “For an appetizer?” Mina asked me.  I said yes.  There was no kids menu so I asked Mina if she’d like to share dinner with me and she was very excited about that, too.  I knew that she liked Mongolian Beef as she often wants to have some of mine when we eat at Pei Wei, but then I noticed that they had some Beef Short Ribs and she likes those to…at other restaurants.  I figured I better ask the waitress about it first.

When she came over, I asked her and she told me that it was very heavily spiced and didn’t think Mina would like it.  She also told me that if we wanted, they could make a kids portion of either breaded chicken or honey chicken.  She also suggested the Beef Spare Ribs.  I told her we’d just share the Mongolian Beef and was done with it.

They don’t have any crayons or anything to entertain the kids, but that’s okay, Mina just needed her Chinese Yo-Yo and her imagination.  She had me take picutres of her with a mustache….

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and with her new nose…

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Our pot stickers came and we both found them to slippery to handle with chopsticks and moved on to using our forks instead.  Mina liked these well enough and kept trying to give me greasy kisses.

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Next out was our entree.  I cut some up for Mina and dished out some of the rice.  Mina took a couple of bites and told me that she thought it was spicy.  No way.  I took a few bites and I figured out what she meant.  It was TOO SALTY.  And, I mean so salty, that I sent it back. How do you make a long dinner with Mina even longer? Send your food back.  I asked her if anyone else had complained about it and she said no.  This has happened to me once before and the other time I could hear other customers complaining also.  (They batch the sauce and don’t add salt to it afterward).  She promptly took the dish away and told me they’d send out another.

She came back to check on us and told me that she thought they might have messed up the proportions on the sauce.  Fair enough.  We stil had our dumplings to munch on anyway.  Mina and I discussed our present shopping, which I cannot elucidate here as there may be prying eyes reading. 

Our new and improved Mongolian Beef came out and Mina noted with a dramatic, “Mmmmm, yummy!” that this one was done right.  I think my taste buds were injured from the previous dish as I STILL thought it was a little on the salty side, but I was able to trudge through it. 

She and I finished up dinner and I paid up so that we could spend the next 3 hours shopping. 

 

The food

PF Chang’s is your “upscale” Chinese restaurant, which, in my opinion, take some of the more traditional dishes and spins them so that they aren’t too far from what one would expect at your usual Americanized Chinese restaurant. 

DSC_0058The pork dumplings (pan fried) are what we ordered as an appetizers.  I’d say they’re at least average here, but I just don’t think the filling has great flavor or texture.

 

DSC_0057We ordered the Mongolian Beef and I normally like it a lot here.  But had this been the first time I’d ever ordered it, it might have been the last.  Unlike many other places where I’ve had Mongolian Beef, the sauce here is very thick and sticky and has a good strong soy/sweet/garlicky flavor.  The meat always is tender and, generally speaking, it’s an appealing dish.  This is the second time I’ve had it be too salty.

They don’t have a kids menu, but our waitress offered up making something for Mina.

They DO have a gluten-free menu, if that’s something that your family needs.

 

The service

Service today was average to above average.  Our server was very forthcoming in telling me that she thought the Beef Short Ribs would not be appealing to Mina as she thought it was too heavily seasoned with Chinese spices.  When the Mongolian Beef came out too salty, she quickly took that away to have it replaced.  It was better the second time.  The only hiccup is that it took quite some time to get a drink refill, but that’s not a huge deal.

 

The kids

I don’t think this place is a kid friendly restaurant, although you’ll see lots of kids there.  To be fair, our server did tell me she could make a kids sized honey chicken, or something like that.  They don’t have anything to entertain the kids, but the restaurant is pretty loud so when your kids are screaming from boredom, they’ll blend right in.  The main reason I don’t think it’s kid friendly is because if you don’t eat here before 5 o’clock, you may be in for quite the wait.  The wait here is commonly 1hour or more.  And it’s a very cramped restaurant for both waiting and in the dining area. 

When I’m in the mood for PF Chang-esque food, I prefer to go to Pei Wei, much cheaper and just as good, in my opinion.  I order the Mongolian Beef at both places and prefer it at Pei Wei where I get button mushrooms with the dish and it’s 5 bucks cheaper.  At PF Chang’s, I feel like I’m paying 5 extra bucks to people watch and I’m too busy watching my own kid for that nonsense.

The total:$24.85

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