P.F. Chang’s, Princeton, NJ

Went for lunch today to P.F. Chang’s in Princeton. I had previously been to this restaurant when it first opened and had been to other locations in Florida and on Long Island. It’s an enormously popular chain, always packed, but they keep people flowing pretty well so it doesn’t seem like anyone waits too long. I hate waiting so I made a reservation for lunch today.

The decor and set-up is pretty much the same at all the locations, starting with the concrete horses at the front door. The restaurant is noisy and has an upbeat energy about it, probably because it is packed and the wait staff is moving at a quick pace. Not exactly the kind of place to go for a leisurely meal. We were in and out in an hour.

I would say the food is chinese inspired. It has noodles, rice dishes, dumplins and the usual chinese suspects. I call it chinese inspired because it isn’t authentic, it’s chain food, though more upscale then the usual places that come to mind like Chili’s or Appleby’s. The food is actually pretty decent, though it depends on what you order. The portions are huge and there were lots of doggy bags going out, including from our table. We tried a bunch of stuff including:

– Hot and Sour Soup – decent, though not spicy enough. I added hot sauce.

– Chicken lo mein – very good.

– Chengdu lamb – sounded great on the menu but it had a sweet barbecue sauce which spoilt it for us

– Hot fish – very nice

We didn’t have space for dessert.

Service was great, very attentive and flawless.

Lunch was pretty reasonable at $45.

If you are looking for authentic chinese then this isn’t the┬áplace, but it is a good place to go with the kids and it fills a need. For a much better, authentic chinese meal go to Empire Seafood on Rt 1S in North Brunswick near Regal Cinemas. It is excellent. I’ll write a longer review some other day on them.

P.F. Chang’s seems to be the McDonald’s of this genre of restaurants, consistent, efficient, decent not outstanding, reasonably priced and you know what you will get regardless of which location you go into.

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