Sunday, September 16, 2007

Restaurant Review - P.F. Chang's China Bistro, 4200 Conroy Road, Mall of Millenia, Orlando, FL

P.F. Chang's at Mall of MilleniaP.F. Chang's China Bistro is a "nouveau" Chinese restaurant, typically located near malls. While they do have some traditional Chinese dishes on their menu, they usually put a unique twist on each one. The decor inside the Mall of Millenia location is dark with dark wood on floors and tables, burgundy and brown walls, large golden moon-like lights in the ceiling with a spot light on each table - the feeling is very muted and subdued. In fact, there is not much natural light in the Mall at Millenia location; if you visit the Winter Park Village location, it is much brighter inside due to the large windows.

There is also usually a wait for a table at P.F. Chang's although you can call ahead to be put on a virtual waiting list. So, if you are going during normal eating hours, be sure to have some games and toys for your kids to play with while you are waiting for a table.

'Hello' kitty!There is no children's menu at P.F. Chang's but there is enough on the menu that you should be able to share with your kids or get them an appetizer. My kids have eaten just one of the appetizers as their meal before such as steamed dumplings or spring rolls or even just an order of fried rice. What is nice is that even though they don't have a children's menu, they do have children's cups with lids and straws with a "good luck waving cat" on it.

As soon as the server arrives, they will bring a condiment Nice sauces to complement your mealtray with soy sauce, hot mustard, chili sauce, vinegar, and chili oil. They will also prepare a special sauce for you using the condiments on a tray based on whether you request a mild, medium, or hot sauce. We usually request the medium sauce -- you can add heat with more chili sauce or chili oil, or take some away with the vinegar. This is great to use on your own food to make it a little hotter while still leaving the main dish mild for the kids.

My Tropical Green teaI also like to order the hot teas at P.F. Chang's ($2.50). There are several to choose from including green teas, oolongs and flavored herbal teas. On my last trip, I tried the Tropical Green which comes out as a nice honey golden color and had some citrus and orange hints in the light green tea. My favorite part is how it is presented - in a cast iron tea pot on a circular pot holder.

We always order the wonton soup to start at P.F. Chang's because everyone in the family likes it and it feeds everyone in theHUGE bowl of wonton soup for all family. For $6, you get a HUGE bowl of wonton soup that includes water chestnuts, spinach, big chunks of chicken, shrimp, green onions, mushrooms, and pork wontons. It can easily feed four people with almost two bowls of soup a piece. The broth is a very light chicken stock which is nice for the kids but I like to add the special soy sauce mixture prepared by our server to add some kick to it. I always know to make sure LB's bowl only contains the wontons and chicken because he doesn't like anything else - especially the green stuff.

Beef Lo MeinPortions at P.F. Chang's are big enough that we usually order one less dish than the number of people. So, for a party of six, we'd order five dishes and share. We order the chicken or beef Ginger Chicken with Broccolilo mein ($8 at lunch) for the boys to share. My favorite dish is the Ginger Chicken with Broccoli ($11.50). Big chunks of white meat chicken are covered in a delicious brown ginger sauce and are served with crisp, green broccoli stalks that taste very fresh and crunchy.

On our most recent trip, we tried dessert. Two of the desserts sounded very intriguing - the Banana Spring Rolls ($6) with pineapple-coconut ice cream and vanilla caramel sauce, and the Lucky Eight ($8) which is eight chocolate creme filled sticks with The Lucky Eight dessertpeanut butter caramel dipping sauce and toffee bits. The boys outvoted me and chose the Lucky Eight - I'll have to try the Banana Spring Rolls another time (I'm a sucker for anything with coconut in it). The Lucky Eight ended up being a lot bigger than I expected. It could easily be shared by four adults and because of the individual sticks is an easy dessert to share as well. Chocolate creme, which tasted like chocolate fondue (yeah, that rich), was rolled, stick-like, inside a long wonton wrapper and then fried. Those were scooped into a mug and were set next to a small bowl with the warm peanut butter caramel sauce. On the plate were the bits of toffee that we were supposed to roll the dipped sticks into. My only complaint - I wish the toffee pieces were much smaller. Some were pretty big and they didn't stick since they were so heavy. Man, this is a rich dessert... and very good! Both boys loved it although they got to the point where they were only eating the chocolate rolls and ignoring the sauce and toffee.

Since P.F. Chang's isn't a traditional Chinese restaurant, there are lots of options for those that don't like Chinese food and lots of options for kids as well.


Sadie said...

Restaurant Mom - thanks for the detailed reviews! Details are so important to those of us with toddlers/preschoolers. Knowing that this restaurant has kids drinks makes a difference to me.

Anonymous said...

We are thinking about going there so this review helped alot.

Daisy said...

Just tried it last weekend. Love it :)

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