Saturday night (December 2004) was my friend Jenny's birthday and she organized a girl's night out which included dinner at P.F. Chang's in Emeryville. I had never been to any of this chain's restaurants, but I have to say that I was quite happily surprised. The food was tasty and high quality, the menu well priced, the service friendly and attentive and the restaurant quite nice and amenable to that type of activity. I'm not sure if I'd go there for a normal family night out (it's loud enough that kids' voices shouldn't bother anyone, but it's too crowded for toddlers to walk around) but I'd definitely go back here with a bunch of friends.
We shared a bunch of appetizers and main dishes. Everyone loved the crab wontons ($6.25); they were nicely crispy. The lettuce rolls ($6.75) were also very popular. Leaves of iceberg lettuce were brought separately from the spicy chicken filling, for you to assemble into rolls. The filling was quite good by itself as well. Finally, the thick northern style spareribs ($6.75) were tender and tasty in their dark semi-sweet sauce, though not as meaty as I would have liked them.
The only main dish I tasted was the chicken with black bean sauce ($11) and while it was fine, it didn't awe me. The sauce didn't have that deep, almost French taste, that makes me so like this dish in other renditions.
Dessert was the best part of the menu. We shared "the great wall of chocolate" ($7), a huge slice of chocolate cake served with raspberry sauce. It's not the best cake in the world, but it's pretty good and, did I mention that it was huge? We also enjoyed the banana spring rolls ($5.25), slices of banana wrapped in wonton skins and deep fried served with coconut-pineapple ice cream and caramel sauce. They were quite good, though I would have appreciated more sauce. I'd order them again, though.
Service was very attentive, water and refills appeared religiously and our plates were changed and removed when needed. Dinner for each one of us came to about $21 after tip.
5633 Bay Street