The chain restaurant P.F. Chang's recently opened a branch in the newly renovated Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington. The only positive thing that I can say about this facility is that it fits in well with the very tasteful, upscale remake of the shopping center. The food at Chang's is an insult to every small, local eatery that serves far more authentic, high-quality Asian food. The overarching theme of Chang's is salt. They salt everything as if the unrestricted addition of that mineral will transform the mediocre main ingredients into something palatable. It doesn't. Now it is no secret that Asian spices are salty -- so it's especially hard to believe that the cooks (not chefs) at Chang's feel they need to shovel even more sodium into every dish. Specifics? "Steamed pork dumplings" were attractive looking -- but tough, cold, and -- guess what -- extremely salty. Curiously, there was no dipping sauce. " Egg rolls? Greasy and salty. Won-ton and hot-and-sour soups? Truly mediocre -- much better at any local take-out joint. Main dishes? One was based on chicken, the other on shrimp. It would be hard to choose which was worse. A side order of sauteed spinach was half wilted -- half still raw, extremely salty -- and cold. Tea was 3.50 extra -- a rarity for an Asian place, where the hot beverage is almost always brought to the table without asking, and is always included free. My wife and I kept asking each other why anyone in this region of generally good Asian food would ever return to P.F. Chang's.
The main seating area of the restaurant is attractive, with a large bar. At 9:00 on a Friday night,
there were many, many young children in attendance, some seriously wanting for "restaurant manners." This P.F. Chang's looked really inviting when we decided to give it a try, and we entered with high expectations. We wanted to enjoy our dining experience -- but the the food really got in the way of that. Our waitress was nice.
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