Tuesday, October 16, 2007

PF Chang's in Colonie Center

We had lunch at PF Chang's in Colonie Center yesterday. This time we had the Peking Dumplings (pork), which was the best part of the meal. I also had hot and sour soup, which was about the same as last time - not very good. For the main course I had Wok Charred Beef. My wife had the Mu-Shu (pork I think), which was pretty good. She certainly liked it. My overall impression of the soup and my beef dish was that they were way too salty.

I went to the PF Chang website and they have nutrition information, but it doesn't include sodium. I'm not first to say PF Chang has too much sodium. On the bright side, the nutrition info on the site suggests ordering your meal with "light sauce", and that would reduce the sodium. They should be clearer about it on the menu itself.
We went to PF Chang's the other day. Apparently it was Boss Day so my associates took me out for lunch. I wanted to try the new place.

It wasn't bad, but not great either. I will start with the good points. The interior was gorgeous, much nicer than any Chinese restaurant in the area (with the possible exception of Plum Blossom, which is also very pretty inside). It's not just the interior. The tables, dishes, and all the rest were very well done. Servers were friendly and well dressed too.

We had several dishes. The best was the Mongolian Beef (I went off my low-cholesterol diet for this meal). Very good flavor. Beef, cooked just right, with scallions.

We had a few other dishes. I had Hot and Sour soup. It was average for the area. It did look good, as did everything else, but the flavor was just not right. My favorite for Hot and Sour soup in the area is Amazing Wok, which is mostly a take-out/delivery place. They do it just right.

I should note here, and for all the dishes, that Chinese food can be a very personal thing. I prefer "authentic" flavors. Since I've never been to China, I'm not well qualified to judge such things for real. I go by what I hear from Chinese friends, and from experiences in Chinatown and other places with a heavy Chinese population (we had a great Chinese place in Houston when I was at Rice - the main menu was in Chinese). Some people are not into "authentic", and they may like PF Chang's better than I did.

The associates split a Wonton Soup. It had a lot of good ingredients, including shrimp, but again the flavor just wasn't nailed down.

We also had Crispy Honey Chicken. This was reasonably good, but there was an inch-long sharp object in a piece I ate. Fortunately I didn't bite into the sharp side. The manager gave us a coupon for a free appetizer on our next visit. I should sue just for the inappropriate response. :-)

Then we had a noodle dish - Vegetable Chow Fun. Nothing special about it. Not bad, but not a stand-out.

Last, we had a side dish of spinach with garlic. Again nothing special, but it was decent. It was basically what we expected.

This may be a tough market for PF Chang's. Emperor's is just across Wolf Road, and is a much better all-around Chinese restaurant. Ocean Palace is only a couple miles to the east. Our associate has been raving about Shanghai Grill in Loudonville, so we'll have to try that next.

On the bright side, the prices at PF Chang's were reasonable, less than I expected. But if I'm in the neighborhood, I'll either go to the Cheesecake Factory next door for non-Chinese food, or to Emperor's for Chinese food.


Albany Jane said...

Oh, you lawyers, always thinking about work ;)

Marnen said...

Good to know. I've been thinking of trying PF's, and so this review was of great interest.

Judging from your tastes in Japanese, I think you'll probably like Shanghai Grill. It seems to be one of the exceptions to the rule that Chinese don't do Japanese food well (Sushi Village in Poughkeepsie is another, if you're ever down that way). It's a little "nouvelle", but the food is beautifully presented and quite good.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to find a good Chinese restaurant, why you not try Ala Shanghai Chinese Cuisine in Latham...