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Nutley Resident

P.F. Chang's China Bistro

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Just wondering what the Forum thinks of this establishment. I know it is a chain, but some folks at work rave about it. I'm going to be trying it this week at the Hackensack location. Any suggestions? Warnings? :-)


Edited by Nutley Resident (log)

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People are 'dying' to get through the door. :laugh:

The list is long why I would avoid it. But I am sure you will get a wide range of opinions on this topic.

Some of my reasons are mass produced mediocre food that is not even remotely Asian. Huge portions with quality taking a back seat. Lack of identity and soul etc etc.

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What are your objectives? To eat really good Chinese food, or just to eat?

Though many would disagree, there's nothing wrong with PFChang's food as food. It's neither spectactular nor horrible. If you just want a decent meal to fill your stomach, go ahead and try it. Just go early enough to avoid the wait.

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Cachet/clubby inside, food is just OK. Decent selection of beers on tap but it's more a scene than a restaurant. Avoid it if you want good Chinese food and go to Chengdu 1, Hunan Cottage, Noodle Chu, or Petit Soochow instead.

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I mean the place is a step up from the Chinese Food court places with a lot nicer decor..I think the best thing might be the lettuce wraps.. Its a Chain. Same crap different spin..

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I mean the place is a step up from the Chinese Food court places with a lot nicer decor..I think the best thing might be the lettuce wraps.. Its a Chain.  Same crap different spin..

definitely try it......it's decent clean place to eat. if you want to try authentic asian cuisine then this wouldn't be the place for that.

chicken lettuce wraps are good and so is the mu shu chicken.....

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My opinion - for what it's worth -- is that those who rave about it simply don't know real authentic Chinese food. To many, it is the 'in' place to go. Fine! Let them join the 'in' crowd.

I've only been to a PFChang in Denver and it was the same crowded/wait scene as described here. The food was acceptable, but not interesting. When a branch opened in North Jersey, I wasn't the least bit interested.

Give me Chengdu 1 or Hunan Cottage or Noodle Chu--- or any place that has tables full of Chinese eating everything ------but S/S Pork!

Which makes me wonder -- Do Chinese go to PFChang?

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most people don't know about or care about the various authentic cuisines of China, and the people who go to PF Changs are a good representation of about 99.99% of the population. PF Changs is most likely better than the other 2000 "chinese" restaurants in any given state. i wouldn't qualify it as "sichuan" or "shanghainese" (and from what I understand that's not their goal), so i wouldn't compare it to those places. i'd sooner compare it to the various upscale chinese restaurants in NYC that have been wildly popular for years, and i'm guessing it competes quite well in that world, and would be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys China Grill, for example. it offers a pleasant, family-friendly, somewhat upscale but perhaps vaguely "sophisticated" atmosphere with fruity drinks, which I think pretty much fits the bill for most people who are not interested in tripe and sichuan peppercorns.

i see few reasons to not at least try PF Changs. the fact that it's not "authentic" certainly wouldn't be one.

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P.F. Chang's was always a "fun" place to go for younger people. (teenagers, etc) Most of the food is tasty, though not authentic. It's nicely decorated, but loud and sometimes cramped.

I also think it's overpriced. Some of the meat dishes are very mediocre and not worth thirty bucks. The lettuce wraps, as mentioned above, are good. They also have nice teas.

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Which makes me wonder -- Do Chinese go to PFChang?

The PF stands for Paul Fleming. That should tell you all you need to know.

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My PFChangs experiences have happened in Metairie, Louisiana, in OKC and here in T-town. They were all the same. I go there for a few things, lettuce wraps, or if friends or family want to go. If your going with a group it is more fun, we mostly meet at the bar, have a few apps like the crispy green beans and cocktails and then head out for dinner from there. I consider the food to be Asian influenced but not Asian in reality. And their little off shoot Pei Wei's is really not good, all the food tastes the same there. Like the are using the same master sauces for everything. But the customers crowd in there also. And I have met some who argue that Pei Wei's (I prononunce it peewee's just for fun) food is better than PFChangs and Pei Wei's doen't have the hipness factor that PFChangs has. I just shake my head in amazement. PFChang's hip, I don't think so.

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I like it. I've been to various locations -- NY, NJ, FL, and I enjoy it. First, I think it's a "fun" experience and place to eat. More upscale, ambiance, energy, etc. than a typical Chinese restaurant. Also, I like the change of pace aspect. I can sit at the bar, enjoy a nice drink, people, have an appetizer if I want.

It is certainly not a stereotypical "menu" -- some may like that some may not. However, if the menu or the quality of food is not your thing, OK, then don't go. What I mean is that I think the menu and the food is better than most Chinese restaurants, and the experience, environment, etc. just add to that. If someone wanted "incredible" Chinese food, the best food -- I am sure the resident experts would point them in another direction. However, I don't think that's what PF Chang is going after or offering.

Anyway, I think it's the kind of place that people should try and can be a great alernative to "let's just go for Chinese food".

Eric

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Olive Garden : Italian :: PF Changs : Chinese

What she said. Mass market food for the mass market. When was the last time any of you waited 2 hours at your favorite chinese place to be seated?

I always like it when a Chinese place has some asian customers or Indian customers in an Indian restaurant, etc. Maybe I'm wrong but I just don't see Chinese people waiting 2 hours for some American interpretation of some of the best cuisine on the planet.


Edited by Jeff L (log)

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I personally find the sauces to be extremely sweet. This may be part of the appeal to others.

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Their lettuce wraps and calamari are quite good.

I don't think anything that ID's itself as a Bistro is looking for, nor representing itself as, authentic. So I would not compare it to "authentic" Chinese. ( PS, been to China, twice) But, for what it is and purports to be..a bistro with Asian Specialties...it is fun, clean, not very costly, and a better choice than other chains such as Red Lobster or Fridays or whatever.

I meet a friend at the Princeton location every month for lunch, and we have never had to wait more than 5 minutes, but that might be an anomoly, I've never been for dinner.

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Never really thought of PFC as a chinese restaurant. Going in, I've always assumed that they were pan-asian inspired american cuisine. A lot of their menu clearly has no chinese equivalent. As someone who grew up eating chinese/vietnamese food, I'm not offended by the food at PFC.

If I didn't know where any of the good places were, and I needed a safe bet, I would rather go to PFC than try my luck at a randomly chosen restaurant, chinese or otherwise. IOW, some of the food is tasty enough and they have a higher standard for chain restaurants in it's category. It's clearly a better alternative to Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory. Good, safe bet for the friends where the conversation is not going to revolve around the food . It's not a place to go with friends where you know that food would be part of the conversation.


Edited by savvysearch (log)

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Hi, Welcome to PF Changs. How do you like your Chang sauce?

I agree with the general thoughts here. It's not "authentic" by any means, but it's certainly not horrible food. I agree that they are probably a little better than some random small Chinnese joint that sticks a flyer on your apartment door. Of course, it's more expensive at Changs. But Changs is probably giving you a more traditional, modern full service dining experience than the local strip mall Chinnese joint.

I'd say it's more enjoyable food than Olive Garden.

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My chief complaint is the salt. Sweet Jesus! The sodium levels are through the roof -- almost to the point of making the stuff I've had from there inedible. I've only been there a couple times but it's been more than enough to keep me from going back.

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Olive Garden : Italian :: PF Changs : Chinese

Wow I wouldnt have gone that far, not saying its great, i might compare it as cheesecake: Cheesecake factory, I think the two concepts are quite similar but much much better food at PF changs.

I had heard they were working on a new concept specializing in the non mainstream asian cuisines (thai, vietnamese), anybody hear this also??

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I've only been once, for cocktails. GREAT martini. cannot help w/the food though, but man that was a good drink...actually 2.

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Olive Garden : Italian :: PF Changs : Chinese

Wow I wouldnt have gone that far, not saying its great, i might compare it as cheesecake: Cheesecake factory, I think the two concepts are quite similar but much much better food at PF changs.

I had heard they were working on a new concept specializing in the non mainstream asian cuisines (thai, vietnamese), anybody hear this also??

I'd agree with whitetrufflechick that PF Changs is much closer to the Olive Garden than it is to decent Asian food. Then again, I'm not sure that the Cheesecake Factory is any better than either of them so maybe you two agree with each other...

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Eh, I would say that the quality of ingredients, service, etc, is a step above Olive Garden. However, that is not to say that PF's is great or authentic or anything.

Personally, I find their food much too sweet. Edible, but sweet. I don't understand why everything they serve is virtually candied.

My sisters like it because it's nonthreatening, they have good booze, and it's got that simi-upscale atmosphere. I tolerate it to spend time with my sisters.

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Hi, Welcome to PF Changs. How do you like your Chang sauce?

I agree with the general thoughts here.  It's not "authentic" by any means, but it's certainly not horrible food.  I agree that they are probably a little better than some random small Chinnese joint that sticks a flyer on your apartment door.  Of course, it's more expensive at Changs. But Changs is probably giving you a more traditional, modern full service dining experience than the local strip mall Chinnese joint.

I'd say it's more enjoyable food than Olive Garden.

What he said. Olive Garden is inedible and PF Changs is a step up. Far better than the cheesecake factory which I loathe.

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The only appeal that P.F. Chang's has for me is that they have a reputation of accommodating guests with food allergies. It's most likely the only "Chinese" restaurant my 10 year old could get a meal at. He's shellfish, squid, peanut, tree nut and sesame allergic, which rules out all of the little Chinese restaurants that I love.

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