Altanta Trip: PF Chang

I sort of gate crashed into a team dinner when I was in Atlanta. I had no qualms doing that since I had never been to PF Chang before … and more importantly, someone else is picking up the tabs for this dinner.

PF Chang’s China Bistro is another American chain restaurant. The one we went to was just walking distance from our office. It’s in the newly renovated Cumberland Mall. Despite it’s name it’s more aptly described as an American Chinese bistro … i.e. it tried to look Chinese but it’s really catered for the American tastes. He he he … you know what the initials P.F. stands for? It’s named after the founder of the chain … Paul Fleming! Enough said! 🙂


Although this PF Chang is called a China Bistro, it’s more like a more upscale restaurant. The service was prompt and pretty good. I actually have a bit of a culture shock here … seeing how pretentious this place is trying to be chinese. Starting the many lanterns on the ceiling and the candles in the table. Why … if I am not mistaken, you never have a candle on the chinese table because you only light candles in a funeral for the dead! 🙂


Started with a drink and chose something unique from the drinks menu. It’s called the Asian Persuasion which is basically vodka shaken with fresh brewed organic green tea. Yucks! It was an awful combination — at least to me anyway.


Well, I was seated at the far side of where the ordering action was and did not managed to get a say on what to order. I thought I better keep quiet since I am a gate crasher this time. But … those guys, all southerners (no Asians) were having problems ordering because I think they eat Chinese only perhaps once every decade or so.

They gave up and guess what they ordered … they asked the waitress to bring us $25 worth of Chinese food each person and left the choice to her!! For me, it was very funny and tried my best not to notice and concentrated on my small chatter at the end of the table and sip my vodka … errr … green tea.

What happened next was kind of strange to me. They came by and gave everyone a crash course on mixing sauces. Being a Chinese my whole life, I have never seen this before. They taught every how to mix the chilli oil, soya sauce and vinegar. Basically they said that it you want it hot, you add the chilli oil and if that is too hot, then you add the vinegar to tone it down. You do it to and fro until you get the perfect balance. Well, let just say that I learn something new today … whether if it of use to me is another matter.


Since I had no part in the ordering, I had no idea what was ordered. For that matter, no one ordered actually from our table. So, am gonna guess and you tell me if they are correct, alright?

The one below is Chicken and Brocolli. It was quite nice. The meat is too lean though but I can understand why. The gravy is nice but we did not order steamed rice. What a waste of good gravy.


I believe the dish below is salt and pepper calamari. It came with a dipping sauce and considered as a appetizer in this place — maybe because it looked like a finger food. Normally this is considered as a main Chinese dish.


The most interesting dish is perhaps this one. Not sure now what it is but it came with lettuce which you used to make a wrap.


This should be salt and pepper shrimp. This is really good.


The Mongolian Beef is cooked with scallions and garlic.


P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon

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  1. Shockr

    I’m from Vancouver but worked in Ohio extensively about 7 years ago. I went to this restaurant once on a date and found it quite horrible, but the girl was all into it (she being white and me being Chinese). I didn’t want to say anything as she enjoyed the food a lot.

    I found the food very “saucy”, and realized I could have been the main chef for this chain.

    The problem with making the food taste better is that it might not be suitable to the tastes of white America.

  2. Lyn

    How does someone go to a chinese restaurant and not order RICE?!

    Ahhh.. By the way, I’ve had green tea vodka many times, it’s an acquired taste..

    But if you have whiskey with green tea, that’s even BETTER!

  3. LotusRapper

    “The problem with making the food taste better is that it might not be suitable to the tastes of white America.”

    I’m not sure if that over-generalized statement is applicable. America is a diverse society like Canada. And your notion of “better taste” is more likely your own interpretation than one that can be applied others.

  4. Chubbypanda

    I’m not a fan of P.F. Chang’s. The food is ok, I suppose, but you called it when you mentioned how “pretentious” they were trying to be.

  5. Chad

    I worked for PF Changs and other Paul Fleming resturaunts (Fleming’s Steak house and Taneko). The chicken and broccoli doesn’t have a “gravy”, it is a sauce that is made separate from the poached chicken then mixed in. And yes it is MUCH better with rice. However, that is where Chang’s stands out from other chinese resteraunts…everything is ala mode and the rice comes in single orders. The “salt and pepper shrimp” is actually called spicy prawns (larger with different vegetables than the S&P shrimp). The S&P Calamari and Mongollion beef is exactly that. And the final unknown dish with wraps is called… Chicken lettuce wraps… yeah the boss is white, go figure. Its a simple but delicious mixture of Chang’s dark sauce and chicken (scrap from prep), shitake mushrooms and waterchesnuts. Its probably the most popular thing on the menu.

    Why on God’s green earth would you order a drink that is mixed vodka and green tea? That just sounds bad…

  6. gigi

    I saw a PF Chang’s when I was in Alderwood near Seattle and was tempted to try it out. Your review looked interesting but I think I will probably stick with the Chinese restaurants in Vancouver instead. 🙂 It must be appealing to some people though because the restaurant we went past was packed!

  7. Ron C.

    Vancouver’s version of PF Chang’s is the Spectra Group owned (same owner as Milestones)restaurant called the Red Door Pan-Asian Grill (or something like that).
    It’s in the old Bread Garden location at Granville & 14th.

  8. Shockr


    Sorry, I didn’t mean to over generalize. I was just making a point that people that haven’t had Chinese cooking from HK or Asia, may have a different idea of what Chinese food really tastes like.

    I also shouldn’t have made the remark “white America”. I should have rephrased it to talk about people that aren’t familiar with authentic food from anywhere in the world.

    That being said, PF Chang’s atmosphere sure beats out eating in NY Chinatown! LOL. That place is the worst hell hole outside of China… and I’ve lived there (both China and NY) for several years too.

  9. LotusRapper

    No worries Shockr. I understood what you meant. Yes, folks who have not had the fortune to taste “authentic” cuisine will never know how good it really is, irregardless of culture. That said, Vancouver, Toronto (and likely SF) have some of the most authentic Asian offerings outside of Asia, at accessible prices.

  10. roberto

    Irregardless is not a word.

  11. Debbie

    I am looking for the receipe for PF CHANGS s’mores. Does anyone know or have it. Please e-mail me at

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