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Opening of new PF Chang's Restaurant


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This week a restaurant chain called P.F. Chang's is opening in one of our local malls, Colonie Center. I have lived in cities out west were they are quite popular but have never eaten in one. I'm wondering what I can expect from the cuisine?? Is it typical fast food or the exception to the rule?? Also it sounds like a more upscale Asian restaurant ?? Am I correct??

Thanks,

Stacy

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This week a restaurant chain called P.F. Chang's is opening in one of our local malls, Colonie Center.  I have lived in cities out west were they are quite popular but have never eaten in one. I'm wondering what I can expect from the cuisine?? Is it typical fast food or the exception to the rule?? Also it sounds like a more upscale Asian restaurant ??  Am I correct??

Thanks,

Stacy

I tried one in the Rochester area last year and was very disappointed. If there was ever a perfect example of Americanized Asian, P.F. Chang's leads the pack.

Even though there are better choices, I'm willing to bet my kids insist on going while out shopping at the mall. :laugh:

I also live in the Capital District and noticed the recent opening on the local news last night.

Robert R

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This week a restaurant chain called P.F. Chang's is opening in one of our local malls, Colonie Center.  I have lived in cities out west were they are quite popular but have never eaten in one. I'm wondering what I can expect from the cuisine?? Is it typical fast food or the exception to the rule?? Also it sounds like a more upscale Asian restaurant ??  Am I correct??

Thanks,

Stacy

It's a chain. Avoid it and patronize you local restuarants.

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This week a restaurant chain called P.F. Chang's is opening in one of our local malls, Colonie Center.  I have lived in cities out west were they are quite popular but have never eaten in one. I'm wondering what I can expect from the cuisine?? Is it typical fast food or the exception to the rule?? Also it sounds like a more upscale Asian restaurant ??  Am I correct??

Thanks,

Stacy

I tried one in the Rochester area last year and was very disappointed. If there was ever a perfect example of Americanized Asian, P.F. Chang's leads the pack.

Even though there are better choices, I'm willing to bet my kids insist on going while out shopping at the mall. :laugh:

I also live in the Capital District and noticed the recent opening on the local news last night.

Yes that is where I saw the report, on the local news. I as all excited because I love Asian food. But... I had a feeling it was nothing more than Asian fast food and I knew I would find the answers here.

Thanks again for the heads up.

Oh since I have your attention... Are there any area restaurants (Asian) that you would recommend??

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This week a restaurant chain called P.F. Chang's is opening in one of our local malls, Colonie Center.  I have lived in cities out west were they are quite popular but have never eaten in one. I'm wondering what I can expect from the cuisine?? Is it typical fast food or the exception to the rule?? Also it sounds like a more upscale Asian restaurant ??  Am I correct??

Thanks,

Stacy

I tried one in the Rochester area last year and was very disappointed. If there was ever a perfect example of Americanized Asian, P.F. Chang's leads the pack.

Even though there are better choices, I'm willing to bet my kids insist on going while out shopping at the mall. :laugh:

I also live in the Capital District and noticed the recent opening on the local news last night.

Yes that is where I saw the report, on the local news. I as all excited because I love Asian food. But... I had a feeling it was nothing more than Asian fast food and I knew I would find the answers here.

Thanks again for the heads up.

Oh since I have your attention... Are there any area restaurants (Asian) that you would recommend??

It's not fast food. It's a full service, sit down restaurant.

"How do you like your Chang Sauce?", the waiter will ask? :D

But the food is very Americanized (really, like a lot of other "ethinic" places, chain or not). IMHO, food qulaity better than OG, but it's about the same level authenticity wise.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I believe the chain was founded in Scottsdale, AZ by Paul Fleming (hence the P.F.). Chang is thrown in for effect. He also has Flemings Steakhouse and who knows what else. I've been by them in Scottsdale and elsewhere, where family lives, but didn't eat there. Not quite Olive Garden in the sense that they shoot for a more upscale decor and clientele, but in a way the same- Americanized, sanitized and packaged. I. too, live in the Capital District- go to Emperor (or any eGullet-recommended local Asian restaurant in any other locale) over this.

Mark A. Bauman

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Truth be told, I'd take PF Chang's over many of the Chinese restaurants in which I've had the misfortune of dining. It is indeed bland -- and has a curious obsession with sweet peppers; I think they're supposed to make the food "healthy" or "lite" or something -- but it's not downright awful. On the other hand, if you do have a Chinese restaurant with a little soul in your town, your karma and your dinner will be better if you avoid PFC.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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a wholesale aversion to chains for the simple fact that they are chains is curious. chains employ locals, their existence contributes to the local economy, and sometimes they're sure as heck owned by local businesspeople (not the case here, IINM). if I like the food at my local chinese place better than PF Changs I guess I'd go to the local place. If not I'd go to PF Changs. neither option is very appealing for the most part, unless you find a really good authentic chinese place.

although, who can deny the tastiness of those lettuce wraps? and dollars to donuts the wine selection at PF Changs is better than the local joint.

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a wholesale aversion to chains for the simple fact that they are chains is curious.  chains employ locals, their existence contributes to the local economy, and sometimes they're sure as heck owned by local businesspeople (not the case here, IINM).  if I like the food at my local chinese place better than PF Changs I guess I'd go to the local place.  If not I'd go to PF Changs.  neither option is very appealing for the most part, unless you find a really good authentic chinese place.

although, who can deny the tastiness of those lettuce wraps?  and dollars to donuts the wine selection at PF Changs is better than the local joint.

The problem with bland, mediocre chains like PF Changs, Olive garden or any other one care's to mention is that they tend to celebrate their very mediocrity. People, especially visitors, tend to choose the known mediocrity over the unknown, thereby eventually putting the unknown (good, bad or indifferent) out of business. Chains like this tend to perpetuate soul-less homogeneity and reduce the chances of finding a meal with character and substance from coast to coast, so even though locals may benefit economically just as much as with a non-chain restaurant, they lose so much more in terms of local character.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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a wholesale aversion to chains for the simple fact that they are chains is curious.  chains employ locals, their existence contributes to the local economy, and sometimes they're sure as heck owned by local businesspeople (not the case here, IINM).  if I like the food at my local chinese place better than PF Changs I guess I'd go to the local place.  If not I'd go to PF Changs.  neither option is very appealing for the most part, unless you find a really good authentic chinese place.

although, who can deny the tastiness of those lettuce wraps?  and dollars to donuts the wine selection at PF Changs is better than the local joint.

The problem with bland, mediocre chains like PF Changs, Olive garden or any other one care's to mention is that they tend to celebrate their very mediocrity. People, especially visitors, tend to choose the known mediocrity over the unknown, thereby eventually putting the unknown (good, bad or indifferent) out of business. Chains like this tend to perpetuate soul-less homogeneity and reduce the chances of finding a meal with character and substance from coast to coast, so even though locals may benefit economically just as much as with a non-chain restaurant, they lose so much more in terms of local character.

thank you, docsconz...well said.

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of course, I've been to plenty of bland, medicore meals at non-chain places. And have had decent, non-bland meals at chains.

But yeah, I'm more likely to find something really great at a non-chain place. You just have to weed your way through some bad and medicore places to get to the good ones.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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i recently ate at a pf changs out here in california located in a *gasp* mall of all places. i always go into places like this with my eyes wide open...i know what to expect...but the amount of salt in every dish we ate was incredible. my heart was racing and i had to drink about two quarts of water at home to flush it all out. it could have been just this location, but i have a feeling that some chains try to overwhelm the blandness with salt! in this case, they must have a tanker truck of soy sauce delivered every day to keep up with the cooks.

Edited by alanamoana (log)
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i recently ate at a pf changs out here in california located in a *gasp* mall of all places.  i always go into places like this with my eyes wide open...i know what to expect...but the amount of salt in every dish we ate was incredible.  my heart was racing and i had to drink about two quarts of water at home to flush it all out.  it could have been just this location, but i have a feeling that some chains try to overwhelm the blandness with salt!  in this case, they must have a tanker truck of soy sauce delivered every day to keep up with the cooks.

and if it's not salt, it's some really sweet sauce.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Chains don't just celebrate their mediocrity, they are defined by it. The food in chain restaurants like PF's is kept on the menu not because it is interesting, but drives the most sales dollars. So the dishes that sell the most (ie are most recognizeable, contain certain buzzwords, or trigger the sugar/fried food Pavlovian response) are the ones that remain on the menu. A national chain by design winds up giving the majority what they want, while continuing to marginalize the unfamiliar foods that make a particular culture's cuisine unique. Think of it like this; the same way big agriculture is producing homogenized produce designed to be uniform, easily shipped, have long shelf life, and make money, but not for taste (to the exclusion of heirloom varieties that have unique properties), national restaurant chains are doing to dining, except we are the produce.

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NOooooooooooooo!!!

Sorry, pure instinctual adrenaline fired response (reaction?) to the title of this thread.

P.F. Chang's (and, yes, there are plenty out here in the Midwest and I have been a few times - not by my will) is the archetypical "Chinese" restaurant that retards every little step our country makes towards bringing and encouraging the spread of traditional Chinese cuisine. It is the Olive Garden of Chinese restaurants. Okay, actually, that might not be exactly a fair analogy, but pretty close.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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of course, I've been to plenty of bland, medicore meals at non-chain places. And have had decent, non-bland meals at chains.

But yeah, I'm more likely to find something really great at a non-chain place.  You just have to weed your way through some bad and medicore places to get to the good ones.

No doubt, being an independent restaurant is no guarantee of being a good restaurant. Because there are plenty of poor to mediocre independents, many people simply go with familiar mediocrity because they know what to expect, and it is comfortable. That is why I like to do my research before traveling some place. This way I can seek out food that is likely to be good and interesting. This is but one of the reasons the eGullet Society is so valuable as it affords me a trusted source of information.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Chains don't just celebrate their mediocrity, they are defined by it.  The food in chain restaurants like PF's is kept on the menu not because it is interesting, but drives the most sales dollars.  So the dishes that sell the most (ie are most recognizeable, contain certain buzzwords, or trigger the sugar/fried food Pavlovian response) are the ones that remain on the menu.  A national chain by design winds up giving the majority what they want, while continuing to marginalize the unfamiliar foods that make a particular culture's cuisine unique.  Think of it like this; the same way big agriculture is producing homogenized produce designed to be uniform, easily shipped, have long shelf life, and make money, but not for taste (to the exclusion of heirloom varieties that have unique properties), national restaurant chains are doing to dining, except we are the produce.

But this describes lots of non-chain places, too.

Heck, just walk into any GOOD non chain place and you still see all the "safe" choices. Filet mignon. Salmon. etc.

Those restaurants are in business for the same reason the chain is. To make money. They aren't going make money by putting a bunch of dishes on the menu that no one wants to eat. Sure, you are far more likely to find the adventuresome stuff at the right non-chain place, but this idea that all non-chain places are bastions of the ultimate cuisine is just nonsense.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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As a independant, I do consider myself a bastion of ultimate cuisine as compared to the standard line up you present, and thats why people come to my restaurant. People do want to eat other than the standard chain offerings, in my world people like more than buffalo chicken fingers and Gen tsao chicken. Yes they pander to the lowest common denominater, but that doesn't mean the rest of us do.

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I'm very biased in favor of Vietnamese food but even if I weren't... I'd venture to guess that any of the Vietnamese restaurants in the Capital District will be far superior to P.F. Changs not to mention better than nearly all of the Chines restaurants in town.

I haven't visited there yet but My Linh on Delaware Ave has an impressive menu. Judging by the web site and the menu I think they're trying to offer some upscale appeal with some pricier and more complex entrees than the typical Vietnamese place offers. But they also have tried and true favorites like Pho and Goi Ga (chicken salad) at reasonable prices that parallel what I pay at neighborhood formica table style Vietnamese places in Syracuse or elsewhere.

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