No one is going to call P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro authentic. But, in the case of this deservedly popular restaurant, authenticity is not the goal. P.F. Chang's serves thoughtful, often innovative and always delicious Chinese-inspired food in trendy-comfy surroundings. While most "Americanized" Chinese food is a gloppy tangerine-hued horror show, the fare at P.F. Chang's is replete with fresh veggies and complemented by tasty (yet never overpowering) sauces. On the appetizer menu, the crab won tons are a welcome change from many of their local "Rangoon" brethren; the dominant flavor here comes from luscious hunks of real crab meat, rather than from a blob of cream cheese. Follow those with a spicy, tart plate of orange-peel chicken or an elegant platter of Chengdu spiced lamb (nicely accented by cumin, mint, tomatoes and sweet yellow onions). Prices are comparable to those at many other chains, yet the food is fresher and more inventive. Those on the hunt for an after-work deal will want to check out P.F. Chang's happy hour; from 3 until 6 p.m. every day, drinks and small plates are priced between $3 and $6 (including generous pours of good wines and signature cocktails such as the Asian Pear Mojito). Got special dietary needs? P.F. Chang's shows attention to detail (and respect for customers' health needs) by offering an extensive menu of gluten-free items.
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