Last week a new restaurant opened at Briarwood Mall! P.F. Chang’s is one of the more upscale choices in the world of chain restaurants, and now Ann Arbor has one of their own. I have to admit that I’ve long been a fan of their Asian-inspired fare.
That’s why when I was invited in for a meal, and to share my thoughts on the blog, I was delighted to accept. Y’all know that checking out newly opened restaurants is my jam, so I was happy to check out their new (and first!) Ann Arbor restaurant just days after their grand opening (which was December 15, 2014.)
My last day of work of 2014 seemed like a perfect excuse for a celebration, so last evening we traveled the very short distance from our home to the new P.F. Chang’s at Briarwood Mall. Today is Day 1 of my 10-day winter vacation. Woohoo!
The menu currently features a fairly large variety of options – from classics like Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps, to newer upscale options like Oolong Sea Bass and Walnut Shrimp with Melon. Since there has not been a location very close to Ann Arbor until now, my visits to P.F. Chang’s for the past few years haven’t been all that frequent, but I noticed many new items on the menu that I didn’t remember seeing at my last visit (to the Northville location) several months ago.
The huz was my lucky dinner date and I selected this starter with him in mind (man loves his ribs). P.F. Chang’s offers two types of spare ribs on their starters menu, and we went for the dry-rub version:
NORTHERN-STYLE SPARE RIBS
”Slow-braised and dry rubbed with Chang’s five-spice seasoning.”
The ribs were quite tasty and it was evident that they’d been gently slow-cooked, as no fatty bits remained – just tender, meaty bites. A quick sear on the exterior added a mildly sweet layer of crisp caramelization, and the five-spice dry rubs that accompanied the ribs definitely made the dish. I’ve been inspired to try cooking with Chinese five-spice at home! Must get some soon.
The one must-order item on my list going in to P.F. Chang’s was:
CHANG’S CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS
”Our signature appetizer. Wok-seared chicken, mushrooms, green onions and water chestnuts over crispy rice sticks, with crisp lettuce cups.”
These are so crazy good and it’s always fun assembling your own lettuce wraps. I always need to ask for more lettuce though – I kind of wish they would just set you up with plenty right off the bat. But anyways, these chicken lettuce wraps were even better than I remembered.
One side of the restaurant features a large bar area and several high-top tables (though we sat in the dining area on the other side of the restaurant.)
P.F. Chang’s offers over 24 wines by the glass, several beer options including a few local craft options, and many specialty cocktails. To appease my recent coconut kick, I ordered this sweet, creamy coconut cooler, which was very refreshing paired with our savory meal.
P.F. Chang’s serves their entrees family-style, and patrons are encouraged to share amongst their tables.
We shared two entrees:
MOO GOO GAI PAN
”Braised prawns and sliced chicken breast in a velvety sauce with Asian mushrooms, baby bok choy and carrots.”
Loved the prawns and all of the fresh veggies in this dish. The sauce was very mild in flavor.
When it comes to a beef option at P.F. Chang’s the huz and I are die-hard Orange Beef fans, but in order to try something new for the purpose of sharing some thoughts on the blog, we ordered something new-to-us:
”Sweet, soy-glazed flank steak wok-seared with scallions and garlic.”
I’m glad we did because I loved this flavorful entrée! Perfect combination of sweet and salty – umami!
And, because the evening was a celebration, we ordered the Great Wall of Chocolate for dessert. We made a dent, but definitely had to bring some home with us!
All in all we really enjoyed our meal at the new Ann Arbor P.F. Chang’s and I’m really thankful that we were given the opportunity to come in for dinner. The new location is candlelit and beautiful inside – I completely forgot that I was sitting in the Briarwood Mall parking lot. (The restaurant is located in a stand-alone building near Macy’s.)
I should also mention that we had superb service during our meal, which really made the visit.
I think one of the best things a restaurant can offer (well, second to delicious food of course) is having a server box up your leftovers for you. Often when I go out to eat, I am in my nice dress clothes and don’t want to worry about spilling sauce all over myself (because I would totally do that), so it’s so nice when this is offered (which it was.)
I can definitely see us returning to P.F. Chang’s in the future, when we’ve got a hankering for Chinese food and want to dine in a nice atmosphere. I need more lettuce wraps ASAP!
I received a free meal at P.F. Chang’s in exchange for posting my honest thoughts here on the blog. As always, all opinions are my own! Thank you P.F. Chang’s for hosting us!