Event - P.F. Chang's Summer Menu Tasting

You've surely heard of P.F. Chang's before (whose full name is P.F. Chang's China Bistro) but did you know that in the span of just 20 years, they've become more than 200 restaurants? It's touted as an Asian-themed restaurant which is to say that they serve American Asian food, not Asian-American food. I was contacted about the Irvine Spectrum location's recent renovation and the early arrival of the chain's summer menu at this particular spot. To give them a shot, I was graciously sent a gift card to try some new items; all opinions below are my own and touch on not only the new items but also existing P.F. Chang's items.


I haven't been to P.F. Chang's in years upon years (think early high school...) and neither had Duc. It certainly has expanded since either of us had been but hearing that the Irvine Spectrum location had gone through a recent renovation had me a little curious. When we came to the place, we both found the decor and environment very charming, adopting a modernized Japanese feel. Plenty of dark wood and black colors adorned the walls and columns as well as organic-looking textures. Enormous windows and open areas presented an outdoorsy indoor feel, especially highlighted by the large bonsai tree in the center of the building.


We stared at the Summer Menu once again after having seen it in my email from them. What I tend to choose to eat depends on the mood at the time so of course, my feelings towards certain items had changed since we last peeked at the list. In the meantime, our waitress brought out dipping sauces and took drink orders. Duc's was their Housemade Ginger Beer ($3 - fresh ginger and lemon juice mixed with pure cane sugar) and mine the Strawberry Cucumber Limeade ($3.95 - muddled strawberries and cucumbers with fresh lime juice). The ginger was quite apparent in the drink but it certainly did not taste like a ginger beer so much as it was a fizzy club soda mixed with ginger and lemon. That being said, if you like ginger, it did pack a kick. The limeade also was a puncher with the tartness and sourness that only pure lime can bring. I'm salivating again just writing about it because I remember how sour it was. The strawberries were a good touch of sweetness to cut through the lime.


Our choices from the summer menu were the Peking Duck Summer Rolls ($8.95 - duck salad with julienned green papaya, snow peas, and carrots wrapped in rice paper and served with a mango jalapeno vinaigrette) and the Grilled Prawns with Red Curry Peanut Noodles ($15.95 - grilled Southeast Asian prawns with chilled noodles, shaved snow peas, crispy shallots, bean sprouts, carrots, cilantro, and lime in a red curry peanut sauce). The rolls seemed a little unbalanced when rolled because some pieces would have plenty of duck while other pieces would have barely anything. The vinaigrette was able to show itself in the pieces with less duck seeing as Peking has a very distinct and strong gamey taste. There was a good crunch to the rolls. The prawns dish took us a bit by surprise because we weren't expecting both the prawns and noodles to be cold, just the noodles. It had a nice heat to it that definitely reminded us that we were having curry. The prawns would have been better had they been hot but their marinade tasted great. The shaved snow peas are a nice touch and texture to this plate.


Menu items had and not on the summer menu were the Ahi Crisp ($9.95 - hand-cut tuna tartare with cucumber, scallions, and citrus soy served with avocado slices on a crispy wonton chip) and Salt and Pepper Calamari ($8.95 - crispy calamari strips tossed with green onions and Freshno peppers served with a sweet chili dipping sauce). The ahi crisp was just about my favorite from the meal as the tuna tartare was very soft and seasoned well. The calamari had the endearing little cup of additional salt and pepper to add more to the experience and name. I enjoyed the alternative style to the typical ringed calamari but felt that it could have been crunchier.

The dessert was their Blueberry Cheesecake ($2.95 - white chocolate cheesecake with swirls of fresh blueberries on a graham cracker crust served with vanilla creme sauce and fresh mint), a letdown of a dessert for its overly soaked crust. Overall, the meal had its ups and downs but there is more to be tried on the summer menu I hear. Perhaps you will fancy a piece from there when you go! Check out the menu below:

  • Summer Vegetable Quinoa “Fried Rice”—Wok-toasted quinoa with summer sunburst squash, mango, tomatoes and snow peas, topped with a sunny side egg.
  • Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple Chutney—Asian-spiced line-caught sushi-grade swordfish served over a chilled rice and summer vegetable salad with black garlic aioli and a pineapple-pear chutney.
  • Korean BBQ Chicken Stir-Fry—Korean-style chicken stir-fry with red peppers, onions and green beans in a sweet, spicy red chili sauce topped with a refreshing summer kimchi slaw.
  • Heirloom Tomato & Thai Basil Salad—A starter salad with a refreshing summer selection of heirloom tomatoes and avocado, finished with Thai Basil and a zesty Asian ponzu dressing.
  • California Roll—Crab salad, cucumber, avocado and sesame seasoned rice rolled-to-order.
  • Spicy Tuna Roll—Spicy Ahi tuna, cucumber, daikon sprouts and sesame-seasoned rice rolled-to-order.
  • Long Island Tequila Tea—Featuring 1800 Silver, Reposado and Añejo Tequilas shaken with fresh sour mix and topped with Coca-Cola
  • Long Island Rum Tea—With Cruzan Mango, Guava and Aged Light Rums with fresh sour mix and a splash of cranberry
Photography by Duc Duong.

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