Long before Thanksgiving Erica and I made a stop into the new Pei Wei Asian Diner. It's located right off of Elston near the Target shopping center. Jed (having grown up in AZ), had heard of Pei Wei, but we mid-westerners had no idea. Pei Wei is a P.F. Chang's China Bistro concept. The description from the website is - Pei Wei Asian Diner (pronounced pay way) is a chain of quick-casual restaurants that serve freshly prepared, wok-seared, contemporary pan-Asian cuisine in a relaxed, warm environment with friendly attentive counter service and take-out flexibility. As soon as I entered it reminded me of a California Pizza Kitchen. Menus were on large LCD screens right when you walk in, you order at a counter and then receive a number to place at a table of your choosing. Drinks are self serve (and they have one of the new cool Coke machines - worthy a visit in of itself).
Erica and I were very hungry that evening and ordered accordingly. We started with chicken lettuce wraps and four potstickers. My main course was Thai River Noodles (Thai soy sauce, chile paste, egg, Chinese broccoli, carrots, Fresno chile peppers, scallions, chow fun rice noodles) and Erica went with Mongolian Beef.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Our meal was fine, about what you would expect from a national fast-casual Asian restaurant. The service was very good and the food came quickly. The potstickers were 'meh' though the sauce was good. I enjoyed the lettuce wraps, especially after we figured out you needed the sauce served on the plate. The portion was large as well. My noodle dish was adequate, definitely not the same as No Thai! from Ann Arbor. I added some soy and hot sauce to kick it up a notch. Erica did not love her Mongolian, but since we over ordered, no one went home hungry.
The location is great for people shopping in the nearby shops and there were plenty of families grabbing dinner. Prices are in line with the product and the over-all experience was as expected. We both agree we won't be running back to Pei Wei since we have other options for quick Asian, but it serves a purpose and they execute well. There is also a solid take-out business for those on the run.