Friday, 20 February 2015

P.F. Chang's gets into the Chinese New Year spirit

As  P.F. Chang’s China Bistro approaches the two year mark since opening its first locale in Montreal, everything is running smoothly at the Rue des Jockeys (Decarie) and Carrefour Laval locations as well as its Canadian flagship in Toronto.

An international brand that features a unique dining experience within an elegant, contemporary and family-friendly setting,  each  of the more than 200 P.F. Chang's restaurants across the globe is a culinary journey inspired by the cuisine of the five regions of China, from Mongolia and Sichuan, to Beijing, Shanghai and Hunan. 

P.F. Chang's menu items are cooked-to-order in traditional Chinese woks, using only the freshest ingredients delivered every day. The restaurant understands the importance of responding to consumer tastes and preferences and offers a wide range of vegetarian options and is also well known for its gluten-free menu offering.
Emile Haykal

My family enjoyed another great meal (call it an “experience”) recently  at Rue des Jockeys, where operating partner Emile Haykal and his team aim to please. Just the other day we were at Carrefour Laval and we could not resist the temptation of checking that location out, having not been there since its grand opening. The operating partner here is Elie Sucar. You cannot enter the restaurant through the mall. Either drive your car around to the parking lot facing Highway 440 or via the mall walk through a short outdoor corridor between The Bay and Crate and Barrel, hang a left and look for the signature entry.

While Rue des Jockeys is two floors with high ceilings, this is smaller more intimate spot. They have one room where the tables are  surrounded by walls featuring  and endless array of bottles of wine. 

"We have 18 `white wines and 21 red,"  said Sucar. "We wanted to create a warm and inviting environment and at the same time break up the 'rectangular'  look of the restaurant. The two wine coolers become a focal point and serves as a dining room divider as well, thus creating two smaller, and more intimate dining spaces. Naturally, the beauty of the cellars also help with the up-sell."

Elie Sucar
It was a Tuesday night at 6 p.m. when we arrived and most of the tables were free. Within a half hour the place was hopping with regulars (some at the trendy bar watching sports), people who just finished shopping and some Americans who were staying at the Sheraton Hotel on the grounds of Carrefour Laval.

Kassandra Bellemare was the manager on duty. Our server told us she and most of her colleagues have been here since the locale opened almost two years ago and they have all become like family.
What’s new at P.F. Chang’s?  Last fall they added some menu items from their summer LTO (limited time only specials). There are more options for Chang’s For Two, a specifically curated menu made for sharing at a fixed price.  Besides the signature chicken lettuce wraps, hand-made dumplings, vegetable spring rolls, Mongolian beef and crispy honey chicken, Korean BBQ chicken, seared ahi with wasabi guacamole and pad thai are also part of the package. More recently quinoa was introduced as a substitute for rice.   
A Chinese New Year menu goes until March 15, with two new dishes (beef with rice noodles & dessert wontons) and a BIG BUDDHA CAESAR (the Chang’s Caesar with a JUMBO Shrimp). They are also running a promotion with Mott’s Calmato glasses when you order either of the Caesars.  Also check out their Pan Menus for takeout for events and meetings. Each dish serves five to eight people.


 I particularly love the way the leftovers are prepared. The server carefully slides each dish into a different small carton, marks what they are and then presents you with a neatly packed P.F. Chang's bag. Nothing goes to waste here.

The menu is accessible at www.pfchangs.ca. For more information call 514-731-2020 (Decarie) or  (450) 687-8000 (Laval). Reservations are strongly recommended on the weekends.


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