Asian Fusion Reigns at P.F. Chang's
Apr 7th 2011 1:23AM / by Nanette Wiser
When you've shopped till you drop at Sak's and Old Navy, satiate your inner foodie at P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro, a culinary crossroads where healthy dining, stylish fare and modern
decor meet. With 200 locations and a devoted hipster following, the tony after-work crowd sips creamy chardonnays, often creating wine flights for
tasting (three 2.5 ounce pours only $10).
The Chinese Connection: Owner Philip Chiang was born in Shanghai and grew up in Tokyo, before relocating to San Francisco. In the early 1960s, his mother opened The Mandarin,
one of the first Chinese restaurants in the United States to serve Chinese food from regions other than Canton. The Mandarin became widely known for
its high-end cuisine and eventually led to a second location in Beverly Hills. After graduating with a B.F.A. at the Art Center College of Design in
Los Angeles, Chiang became involved in the family business. After opening numerous restaurants, Chiang agreed to consult on a Chinese restaurant in
Scottsdale, Ariz., for the legendary Fleming restaurant empire.
The Bar: Fantastic-ly flavored sake cocktails (Moonstone Raspberry, Snow Maiden), unique martinis, Asian beers (Tsingtao, Sapporo, Harbin, Chang) and
extraordinary tea menu (white tangerine, dragon eye oolong) complete the exotic experiment.
Small Plates: Truly my favorite way to dine here is to order four small plates (crisp smoky dynamite shrimp, five-spice spare ribs, Sichuan marinated chicken and
scallion flatbread, salt and pepper calamari), then move on to the Asian grilled shrimp and watermelon salad tossed in citrus dressing and a side of
green tea noodles or garlicky snap peas.
The Main Event: Noodle dishes, vegetables and tangy sauces distinguish the dishes, especially the Hunan pork, wok-seared lamb (scallions, sesame, cilantro), oolong
marinated sea bass (sweet ginger soy, spinach), candied walnut shrimp (tossed in honeydew melon sauce), spicy Dali chicken (sliced potatos, leeks) and
V.I.P. sweet soy plum sauce duck.
Dinner for Two: An inspired date idea promises a four-course meal for only $39.95, which includes soup, one starter (crispy green beans, pork dumplings), two entrees
for sharing (orange peel chicken and Cantonese shrimp), and two mini desserts, best paired with Chinese 88 martini (Plymouth dry gin shaken with fresh
lemon juice topped with sparkling wine).
Healthy Menu: All dishes can be prepared gluten-free, and a special menu features chicken lettuce wraps, Singapore Street noodles, egg drop soup, fried rice, spinach
stir-fried garlic and Buddha's Feast. In addition, dozens of vegetarian dishes catch the eye, especially the Sichuan crispy tofu in vegetarian sauce
with steamed broccoli, chili-pepper stirfried eggplant, and coconut curry vegetables.
219 Westshore Place; 813-289-8400
Photo Courtesy of P.F. Chang's