Wrap it Up

Posted: November 23rd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Asian, P.F. Chang's, Peabody | Tags: , | No Comments »

Sure, it’s a chain, but we felt compelled to check out the PF Chang’s that just opened at the North Shore Mall. Asian food with a twist is one of our all-time favorites, and Chang’s did not disappoint.

The decor is inviting and comfortable, modern with a nod toward Chinese cultural roots. We found the lighting on the dark side at lunch, however. The menu is well organized and interesting, with old favorites like Peking Dumplings, new items like Chang’s Wedge salad, and desserts that go beyond pineapple chunks to include banana spring rolls and adorable $2 mini desserts in tall shot glasses.

Overall, the food was delicious, obviously made with fresh ingredients by chefs that put an emphasis on flavor. We enjoyed the dumplings and won ton appetizers but went crazy over the chicken lettuce wraps. The filling is chopped chicken and water chestnuts in an excellent sauce that we scooped feverishly into lettuce leaves.

For entrees, we sampled the wok seared lamb, mu shu chicken, and fried rice. The lamb was tender and flavorful, and the fried rice had a wonderful ginger flavor. The mu shu was outstanding–far from the shredded cabbage version we’re used to. This had large chunks of lightly battered chicken and mushrooms, along with a nice selection of crisp-tender vegetables.

On the downside, the prices are fairly high for lunch (the mu shu was $11.50 and the lamb was $14), and the service, although friendly, suffered from severe green-ness. True, we were there with a big group for an office outing, but since the server had not marked which person ordered which dish (and didn’t recognize some of the dishes by sight), getting the food on the table was more comedy act than elegant ballet.

If you’re an Asian food lover and prefer light flavors to heavy sauces, we recommend giving Chang’s a try. Go for dinner, sit in one of the cozy-looking booths along the back wall, and order hot tea–it comes in a beautiful cast iron pot to cheer you and warm your hands on a frigid winter night.

P.F. Chang’s
Northshore Mall
210 Andover St. Peabody
(978) 326-2410