Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Birthday Dinner

P.F. Chang's China Bistro
61 Fortune Dr.
Irvine, CA 92618
  It was my sons birthday and just like every year he gets to pick where the family eats. P.F. Chang's is a popular pick in this family so that is where we went. We went to the P.F. Chang's at the Irvine Spectrum because they recently remodeled and added new items to the menu. We ordered California rolls and heirloom tomato and Thai basil salad to start the meal. For our main course dishes we ordered Mongolian beef, grilled swordfish in pineapple chutney, Korean BBQ stir fry and a child's order of crispy honey chicken. These are not our typical menu selections, but I wanted to try some of the new menu items. With drinks this meals was about $86.

   The starting dishes came to the table and I went for the tomato salad first. This salad was made with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, Thai basil and finished with a ponzu dressing. The tomatoes were plump and juicy, the avocado was creamy and rich, the basil and ponzo were a little kick to the taste buds. With my first bite of this salad I got a little bit of everything, in an attempt to make the perfect bite. The basil was prominent but the freshness of those tomatoes came through with the tang from the ponzu. I thought it was a great way to start the meal.

  I am not huge fan of sushi or rolls of any type. These were ordered mainly for my wife and son but I did try one so I could comment on them. The rice was sticky and sweet. The small pieces of avocado and cucumber added texture. The seaweed added a tiny bit of saltiness to the roll and the crab was tender and not fishy. It was the best California roll I have ever personally had before. My sample of California rolls not being huge am I not sure how much that means but I did like it and would try it again. My son really liked them and ate most of them to himself. He discovered that with one of the dipping sauces provided to us that the roll was even better.

  My daughter got the kids sized crispy honey chicken. She really likes this chicken and ate almost every piece. She said the honey sauce was sweet and the chicken was really crunchy. The hostess offered my daughter some child's learning chop sticks and my daughter loved using those. She was grabbing chicken, dipping it in the honey sauce and munching down with out hesitation. I was glad to see that she was enjoying her meal because sometimes it can be difficult to find something she likes. Unless it is a cheeseburger and fries.

  When we go to P.F. Chang's we always share the main dishes so we all got a little bit of each. I tried the swordfish first because this was something I had never had before. When I first tasted the swordfish it had a real grilled flavor to it which made me think beef. The texture of swordfish was firm yet still flaky. As I continued to eat the swordfish a slight ocean fish taste started to come through but not anything that was overpowering or off putting. I was surprised how much I liked swordfish. My dad has told how much he likes it for years but not being a seafood eater I have never ordered it. Looks like I just may have to expand my pallet and try swordfish again. As for the rest of the family my wife also liked the swordfish and my son devoured almost the entire piece. It was a hit with us.

  The Mongolian beef was awesome as always. This is a staple for us when we visit P.F. Chang's and never disappoints. The beef it self is tender but has some kind of coating on it that makes it a tiny bit crisp. The onions work perfectly with the sauce and beef. The Mongolian sauce is sweet but not cloyingly sweet. This dish did not last long at our table and will continue to be an easy choice for this family.

  The Korean BBQ stir fry was another new item for us and the menu describes it as Korean-style chicken stir-fry with red peppers, onions and green beans in a sweet, spicy red chili sauce topped with a refreshing summer kimchi slaw. That sounded good to me but I got the spicy red chili sauce on the side. Not being a chili head I wanted to try this dish but not burn my mouth with heat. For me being able to control my level of heat was best and allowed me to still taste the chicken without reaching for drink after every bite. The pieces of chicken were coated in a batter that made the chicken crisp on the outside yet moist on the inside. The chicken was tender and cooked just right. The onions were barely cooked so they remained firm. The green beans appeared deep fried which made them delicate. The spicy sauce was spicy by it self but when dipping the chicken in the sauce it helped to cut through some of the spice but the heat still got me if I dipped too much. I did enjoy this dish and if you're a chili head I am sure you will really like it!

   The new menu items at P.F. Chang's were enjoyable and the family walked out of the restaurant with full bellies and satisfied. P.F. Chang's is one of a few places that we celebrate special occasions at and with these new menu items it will continue to be a family pick. As of right now I believe the P.F. Chang's at the Irvine Spectrum is currently the only local location that serves these new menu items. I would recommend you check these new items out and if they branch to other P.F. Chang's then this family will be able to expand our menu choices the next time we patronize one of their locations.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro on Urbanspoon

P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc. on Foodio54

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