P.F. Chang’s, the Asian-themed American casual dining success story, opened this week in Villagio Mall, Qatar. There has been much talk of this restaurant opening over the last year, so I had some hope that maybe I would recognise a few of the flavors I miss from my 7 years living and eating in Taiwan. I’ve never been to a P.F. Chang’s before, though they do have them in Canada now, so I didn’t know what to expect, but the reviews I had heard from friends weren’t very promising (and I think the Canadian locations have gone belly up!)
Even so, we decided to give it a try this evening, because we were in the mall running errands, and they seemed to have a table for us, so why not! It was very busy, but after asking twice to place our order, we got an unflustered waiter who promptly started to bring us our heated up food (note the “heated up ” comment!) The staff look exhausted, but had smiles on their faces and did a fine job. I’m sure it’s been a busy week so far!
We ordered the dynamite shrimp, crab wontons, chicken pan-fried dumplings, honey chicken, vegetarian steamed dumplings, spring rolls, and the vegetarian lettuce wraps.
The dynamite shrimp, which are deep-fried, coated in a mayo based mild spicy sauce, and served in a sad martini glass, were the best thing on the table. I could see myself enjoying those more if I was sliding them back with a glass of sake or 4!!
The dumplings looked promising, but were disappointing. Nothing about them was fresh, and the dough was very chewy and thick. The vegetarian dumpling had more flavor than the pan-fried chicken ones, but neither were good. My kids seemed to enjoy them, so they finished them off.
The tofu lettuce wraps were tasty, and a nice vegetarian option, or gluten-free option, though they don’t look appetizing when they arrive at your table. You also have to assemble them yourself, so get ready to get messy! P.F.C’s prides itself on gluten-free options, though I did overhear a man explaining to the waiter several times, and then a manager, that his wife MUST have gluten-free food…and the staff seemed to be confused as to what that meant.
The wontons and honey chicken were sitting under the warming lights for too long, so they aren’t worth much talking about. The honey chicken wasn’t much better than the low-end Chinese take-out you would order at 2am after a long night. It might taste good then, but will cause you trouble in the morning!
P.F. Chang’s, though a nice sit down option for the Villagio restaurant scene, doesn’t have the menu that will bring US back again. It is just the first week, but I believe my opinion wouldn’t change much if we were to return in a month of two, especially with good Indian a few doors down at Asha’s.
Check P.F.C’s out for yourself if you have an itch to scratch, but if you are looking for more authentic Asian fusion cuisine I think your appetite will be disappointed and your pocketbook will be empty.
Cost of food with drinks: 350QR