Friday, October 7, 2011

PF Chang’s, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Saddle Up And Ride Your Pony... 

After much debate about “where to put PF Chang’s horses in Mt. Pleasant” I can safely say that they have landed with all of their 20’ horsey glory and after a long wait, the restaurant is now open.

The Scottsdale based restaurant chain boasting 190+ locations and over a billion dollars in annual sales is arguably one of the most successful restaurant chains in the marketplace today.  Their consistency was something that I have always admired and I found our lunch today to be no exception.

We arrived a bit before noon and were told that there would be a 5-10 minute wait for a table so we decided to sit at a high top in the bar area. 

Inside PF Changs
The building is impressive.  Beautiful Asian tapestries, large funky lights and a Zen like interior create a warm atmosphere.  Their bar opens to a beautiful outdoor seating area and the indoor/outdoor feel is very inviting.

When we first were seated a woman wearing an ear piece approached the table.  She explained the way the menu was laid out and said our server would be by soon.  We really didn’t know what role she played since she didn’t introduce herself, nor offer to take our order.

Another gentleman in a red shirt (an opening trainer for PF Chang’s), asked if our server had been by yet, we said no and he walked away.  Still another guy in a blue, French cuffed shirt asked us if we’d like something to drink and described the various iced teas and other beverages that they offered.  We were to find out later that he was an investing partner in the place. People were all over us like ants on a cookie.

Dipping Sauces
Our server arrived and was pleasant and helpful.  He approached the table with a three-sauce combo of pot sticker sauce, chili paste and Chinese mustard.  He then proceed to make a combo sauce for us, one that he called, “Dragon’s Breath”, further describing that PF Chang’s encouraged the servers to be imaginative in naming their sauce creation.

PF Chang’s has been described by some as the “House that Lettuce Wraps built” so we were compelled to order these first. We were not disappointed.

The Wraps are served with wok seared minced chicken, mushrooms, green onion served over rice sticks accompanied by crispy iceberg lettuce cups.   Note that our order came with only 2 lettuce cups (which is 2 cups too few for the amount of filling). 
Lettuce Wraps
Corporate Folks
As sat and waited for our lunch we noticed that we were seated very close to what appeared to be two people affiliated with PF Chang’s sitting at the bar.  Our server would tell us later that they were “folks from Corporate”.  Because of this our barrage of attention continued throughout the meal.  The amount of questions that we received and how many times we were asked if everything was OK was crazy.  Several servers, bussers, the chef, and some trainers - everyone stopped by!  This was not the action at other tables though, which was unfortunate.

In all of this activity the big picture was somewhat missed.  My husband ordered off the “Lunch Tradition” menu, and his lunch entrée included a piping hot cup of hot & sour soup which was very nice.  Our lunch order, a Pepper Steak Lunch with red and green bell peppers, yellow onion and black pepper served over white rice was also very good.  My entrée however was not.
Pepper Steak

Hot & Sour Soup
The Sichuan Shrimp which I asked for “extra spicy” was spicy but wasn’t warm and in fact it was almost cold.  So we flagged down one of the entourage and asked to have it warmed up. 

I get that they are new and that things happen.  Lunch took 20 minutes after the soup was served, a few more minutes to flag someone and then we had to wait for my lunch to return. 
Sichuan Shrimp
While we were waiting the woman that had first highlighted the menu to us (woman with the earpiece earlier in our saga) came up smiling and said, “Everything is good, yes?”  Clearly I did not have anything in front of me.  I said, “No, the meal was cold and we sent it back.”  Off she went to try and retrieve my lunch.

She promptly returned with my lunch and said, “Here sweetie, I waited for this to come directly out of the wok and it should be better.”  She also asked if I wanted my side of brown rice (now even colder replaced), and I said yes. I appreciated this extra touch but really don’t dig being called “sweetie” by any staff member.

Patio @ Changs
The replacement dish was great, but my husband had already finished his lunch and there I was – alone again, naturally.

To her credit she came back and asked how my lunch was and I said that it was very good.  She then said “I’m going to take care of that for you since it was cold…” which generally means that she would be buying my lunch.  I said that was very kind of her.

Although our server was good we waited quite a while to get our check.  When we did ask him for our check he then went on to bus a few tables next to us, further adding to our wait.  When I asked for a “to-go” container he brought out a large serving tray and stand and then started busing our table.  Still no check.  My left over lunch was then packaged in a small container on the same tray.  I asked him if he was trained to do this and he said yes.  Why he just couldn’t take our plates to the kitchen or hand me a to-go container was beyond me and something that added even more time to the check-out process.  Even our server couldn't explain why they had to do this, but they have to do it.

Our check arrived and while my expectation had been set that my Sichuan Shrimp “would be taken care of” the item had not been removed from the bill. This may have been an oversight.  I had no problem paying for the meal as it was eventually delivered properly, but she shouldn’t have set my expectations that something would be done if it wasn’t going to be.

I am certain that they will do well here and welcome them to the neighborhood. 

We gave PF Changs 4 out of a possible 5 plates.

PF Changs on Urbanspoon

Zagat Tags;
#tidal #restaurant


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