Pei Wei- PF Chang’s Pared Down

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

Baton Rouge just got a Pei Wei which is the more quick service version of PF Changs. I have been looking at the building for a long time eagerly awaiting its open- they put the sign up very early into the construction process. Today when we were deciding where to grab dinner we checked online and found out to our delight that they had opened a couple days ago!

First off, how things work. There are two lines, a to go line and a line for dining in. You get in line, order, get a number and then they bring your food to your table. The sodas are self service and they have the cool “coke freestyle” machines where you can get add different flavors to your soda. (Coke with lime is awesome.) They have soy sauce and chili paste available near the utensils and such. They also have little Chinese food take out boxes you can grab for your leftovers.

First, we tried the Vietnamese chicken salad roll. It was a delicious veggie heavy spring roll that came with two sauces, one peanut and one sweet chili. We both liked the roll and I loved the peanut sauce while Josh preferred the sweet chili. We split one roll because we wanted to be able to try more items but a roll per person would be a good appetizer size.

Next, we shared a cup of the hot and sour soup. It is fairly true to the version served at the PF Chang’s full restaurant which we have had countless times.  The cup is $1.99 while the cup at PF Chang’s is $3.50 with the size being slightly smaller at Pei Wei. We saw a bowl going out to another table. It is smaller than the PF Changs’s GIANT bowl at $5.95 but at $3.99 it looked to still be a nice size.

The entree area of the menu allows you to choose a protein, size, and dish and then do some customizing. Unless you have a huge appetite, the small size entree will generally suffice. I went with the Thai Dynamite with chicken as my protein. I also opted to upgrade my rice to fried rice (for 99c). It was quite tasty and a very generous portion. I could have gone for a bit more heat though given the dish’s name. Josh opted for the Thai Chili and Lime limited time only dish. He also went chicken and choose to go for the “original size” which was an enormous amount of food.  He also opted to upgrade from rice but went with noodles instead. He was very pleased with the dish and it had a unique flavor profile you won’t get at most quick service Chinese food places.

The service was excellent despite the fact that everyone in Baton Rouge had seemed to decide to try it at the same time as us. When Josh’s dish came out with fried rice instead of the noodles that he ordered they very quickly brought him a new dish with the noodles and left the dish with the error for us as well. We boxed up the still tasty mistake for later.

I think we are going to be eating here many times and certainly it will enter Josh’s rotation of places he goes out for lunch.