Quote of the Day

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Food: Chang's On Westshore

At the office Christmas party last year the CEO handed out gift cards to area restaurants. My bride received a card for P.F. Chang's China Bistro. I, on the other hand, didn't receive squat! I do not believe that simply because I am not employed by that company it should have made any difference. That I was at the party should have counted for something. The CEO will not be getting a Christmas card from me this year.

Oh yeah, P.F. Chang's. We went there for dinner this past Friday. I checked out Chang's on-line several days ago to see what was on their menu and I read a few reviews, so I knew that there would be two huge lions stationed just outside the doors. At least two reviewers pointed that out, along with descriptions of the decor down to tiny details. Bless them because now I can concentrate on the important stuff - FOOD!

I had called ahead to make reservations and the sweet voice on the phone said the earliest we could get in would around 9 PM unless we wanted to take a chance with bar seating (first come, first served with full menu). Another option was for 6 PM, which was fine for us. Despite a crowded parking lot at Westshore Plaza we made it on time. We announced our arrival and were seated promptly. This was especially pleasing since there were many people loitering about the reception area who had apparently not made reservations.

Other reviewers had noted that the noise level gets pretty high when the place is crowded, and on this night it was packed. The noise level was not intolerable, and conversation was still possible without having to scream to be heard. We clearly heard our server when he asked if we would like to start our evening with an adult beverage. My dazzling dining partner requested the Penfolds Shiraz by the glass. I was more interested in trying the cold-served sakes. There are three on the menu, none that I was familiar with, so to start I chose the Sake Flight - a one ounce pour of Living Jewel, Wondering Poet, and a milky sake called Snow Maiden. All three were good, but for the remainder of our dinner I stayed with the Living Jewel.

From the appetizer menu we shared an order of the Northern Style Spareribs with a five spice salt. The ribs were tender and quite tasty accompaniments to both the Shiraz and the sake. For our entrĂ©es, my Lady chose the Almond and Cashew Chicken with a garlic soy sauce and a side of brown rice. With the first bite she was pleased with her dinner choice.

I was torn between the Salt and Pepper Prawns, and the Cantonese style VIP Duck. I asked our server for his opinion and he suggested that while both are good that I certainly would not be disappointed with the duck. So, it was aquatic fowl for me.  What appeared before me on the plate was definitely not a "ducklette." This was a Brontosaurus sized half duck glazed with a sweet soy plum sauce along with flatbread, slivered green onions, and cucumber slices. The diner had a choice of wrapping the sliced duck in the bread with onions and cucumber, and eating out-of-hand, or taking one succulent morsel at a time. I am grateful to that bird for sacrificing itself for my gastronomic pleasure.

While dessert was hardly necessary, we did decide to split an order of the crispy Banana Spring Rolls with pineapple ice cream. This was a light and tasty end to a very relaxing, filling, and utterly delightful dinner.

If there was any downside to our evening at P.F. Chang's it was probably that drink service tended to be a little slow from time to time. That was understandable when you consider the size of the Friday evening crowd, but the servers were always attentive, apologized for slow moments, and never rushed us through our food courses.

Had we not used a gift certificate our total bill would have been $99.19. We left a 20% gratuity based upon that total - a reward for excellent service.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon


To avoid any misconceptions: The Sog City Oracle has no official or monetary association with Urbanspoon or any of the restaurants that are reviewed. We do not get paid, we dine anonymously, and we pay full listed price. 

1 comment:

  1. I received a very gracious e-mail from P.F. Chang's Guest Relations that I want to share with you - especially the CEO of the company that employs my talented, and worthy of a pay raise, spouse:


    Thank you for blogging about us!!

    It is wonderful to get such positive comments about the quality of our food and services. It is our ultimate goal to ensure our Guests have a special experience when they dine at our restaurants. At P.F. Chang's, our message is, "We are truly glad that you are here and we will do everything we can to make you want to come back." It is gratifying to receive compliments like yours because it means that we have succeeded in our efforts. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and blog with us. I will share your kind words with our entire Tampa team and add my personal thanks!

    We look forward to seeing you again soon!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Danna Acevedo
    Guest Relations
    P.F. Chang's China Bistro

    P.S. I think you should have received a gift card from the CEO as well. :)