Pei Wei Asian Diner

Last Activity: May 26th, 2011

peiwei ftl 0714

Pei Wei Fort Lauderdale

Location

1730 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305
954 565-5881
What's Nearby

Critic's Rating

Rating2.4
Food
Service
Ambiance
Last Review: 07/19/14

Information

HoursM-Th 11am-9pm, FriSat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm
Dress CodeCasual ParkingPrivate Lot
CCYes AlcoholNone
Entree PricesModerate OutdoorYes
ReservationsNo DeliveryNo

Critic's Review

I didn't plan to go to Pei Wei today, but my plan to go to brunch got thwarted by 20yo hostesses. They have some new asian salads and sushi rolls and there's no 2:30 cutoff, so it's safe to wander in at any time of the afternoon.

I picked up a menu and noticed the spicy tuna rolls; you can get just 4 of them for $3.29 so I figured I'd try them. The salads didn't sound so good so I decided to get one of the "Wok Fresh" entrees for $6.49. I ordered the Kung Pao and took the $.99 upcharge for the fried rice.

The self-service experience starts with gathering your utensils, soy sauce and your drink. No regular iced tea here; it's all fancy stuff. I got the green tea initially and later went back just to try the cinnamon vanilla. I made the right choice, the cinnamon vanilla didn't taste anything like iced tea.

Pei Wei Ice Tea Beverage Stations

Pei Wei Ice Tea Beverage Stations

You grab a table and put up your number, and you wait. They have fresh lemon for the tea, and you don't have to ask for extra.

Pei Wei Green Tea

Pei Wei Green Tea

It's a comfortable dining room, with some jazzy music playing; the kind that they used to put on bad web sites. Not too crowded at 3:30pm on a Saturday. You can see the flames flaring up in the kitchen as the chefs do their thing.>

Pei Wei Interior

Pei Wei Interior

The sushi rolls came out first. It comes with pickled ginger, wasabi and a smear of some sort of "Sriracha" sauce.

Pei Wei Tuna Roll

Pei Wei Tuna Roll

The rolls weren't bad, better than the soups at this place. I'd only had one piece when the chicken came out. There's no pacing here. The food just comes when it comes.

Pei Wei Small Kung Pao Chicken

Pei Wei Small Kung Pao Chicken

This is quite a haul for $6.49. They never gave me this much rice before. But as it turned out there wasn't much chicken. They put carrots in everything for some reason. The chicken was battered and not very spicy; it was a sweet sauce. Everything is tempered here; of course the entire point of Kung Pao is the spice (remember the Seinfeld episode). The rice was clumpy. The food is just average here.

I ended up eating the chicken and a small amount of rice, and took the rest home. Like everything else at Pei Wei, boxing up your leftovers is a self-service operation.

Pei Wei Take Home Box

Pei Wei Take Home Box

I took home about 1/2 a box; all in all a good deal for $14 with no tip. But it ain't Chinatown.>

Review 2/14/12

I got a coupon to try Pei Wei's new Thai Basil dish; a BOGO so I had to buy something else, but getting 2 lunches for $6.25 is a good deal. I'm not eating rice, so it would make up for that. I'd been to the place when the first opened, so I figured I'd see how they were doing now that they've been open awhile.

If you don't know about Pei Wei, it's sort of an express concept by PF Chang's. It's semi-serve; you order and pay at the register and then they bring you your food. You have to fetch your own silverware and drinks and you put a big plastic number in a holder on the table. I'm not sure if your supposed to tip; I didn't see anyone else leave a tip so I didn't either. You don't have a dedicated server; there's just a bunch of guys working the dining area.

The dining room is pretty nice, with high industrial ceilings and a brick wall in the back. They have good music playing; it's pretty funky for an Asian place.

Pei Wei Fort Lauderdale Interior

Pei Wei Fort Lauderdale Interior

The coupon was good for a "dinner select" entry, which is a smaller size portion that's available for about half of the entree choices. It's fine for lunch. You get a choice of a cup of soup, a spring roll or asian slaw also. So I got the freebie Thai Basil with a cup of hot and sour soup and also the Pei Wei Spicy, which they claim is like General Chu's Chicken with a side of asian slaw, just to try it.

The hot and sour soup was really loaded with stuff; they must have fished a nice spoonful of stuff for me.

Pei Wei Hot & Sour Soup

Pei Wei Hot & Sour Soup

The soup isn't very hot or very sour; I've had worse and I've had much better.

I tasted the Asian slaw after picking out the parsley; it didn't seem very Asian to me. I couldn't detect any dressing. I guess for raw veggies it was OK, but I had enough food without it.

Pei Wei Asian Slaw

Pei Wei Asian Slaw

Next I tried the Thai Basil, which they've been touting for quite some time now. There's even a video on their site about how they make it; in fact they make you watch the video in order to get the coupon. I went and made a pot of coffee while it was playing I think.

Pei Wei Thai Basil Chicken

Pei Wei Thai Basil Chicken

The parsley garnish was just ridiculous, how about some basil? The dish is grilled chicken with a thickish sauce with lots of scorched cashews and red pepper squares. By itself, there was nothing particularly tasty about it. The chicken was better when dipped into some hot mustard. I didn't taste much basil or much spice at all. There were a lot of cashews; have you priced out cashews lately?>

The "Pei Wei Spicy" (General Chu's) wasn't spicy at all; the chili sauce that the chicken was in was more sweet than anything else. The sugar snap peas were pretty good, but the carrot slices didn't work with the sauce as it was prepared.

Spicy Pei Wei (General Chu)

Spicy Pei Wei (General Chu)

They seem to temper the spice here to the point where there is no spice at all. There isn't an opportunity to ask for more spice, so it is what it is.

Not a bad place for a decent lunch, but the only thing that I really like is the Mongolian Beef. You can get the coupon on their website but you have to use it before February 19. You can't beat 2 lunches for 6.25 just to try it out.

Review: 5/26/2011

Pei Wei Asian Diner opened on Monday May 23 next to Chipotle at the old Lonestar Steakhouse location. Pei Wei is a part cafeteria, part restaurant concept from the owners of PF Changs. The food is very similar to PF Chang's. It's a casual eatery where you wait on line, order your food at the register and then sit down and they bring it to you. You fetch your own condiments and your own box for leftovers.

On their web site it says "Why Wait?", so I figured I'd order online so it would be ready when I got there. They have a pretty good online ordering system that's fairly comprehensive. You can place the order well in advance as you tell them what time you'll be picking it up. I've had the Mongolian Beef here and I'd probably order it every time if I wasn't doing a review; this time I ordered the Spicy Korean Beef. I ordered a few other things also.

peiwei_order.jpg

When I got there I realized a flaw in my plan; when you order online they don't ask if you'll be dining in or taking out; they just assume its take out. So my order was all packed up in little plastic containers and in a bag. I was still going to try to eat in the dining room, but it was really too clumsy trying to unpack the bag on a table there, so I ended up taking it home. It would be cool if they had a way of placing your order in advance with an eat-in option; particularly when you're in a hurry. But I guess that's not what they had in mind.

The dining room is pretty nice, with high industrial ceilings and a brick wall in the back. They have good music playing; it's pretty funky for an Asian place.

Pei Wei Fort Lauderdale Interior

Pei Wei Fort Lauderdale Interior

Something else they have that's really cool is the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, a vending machine with over 100 different beverage choices. It has a menu like they have at the supermarket at the self-service for produce; you scroll through some menus and choose from all sorts of juices, sodas and flavored waters. You can get plain water also. I got a Barq Root Beer. I haven't had one of those in a while.

Pei Wei Coca Cola Freestyle Machine

Pei Wei Coca Cola Freestyle Machine

I ended up eating the spring roll in the car, so no picture. It's just a small egg roll; it's not really a spring roll. It didn't look anything like the ones they have on their website; it was mostly cabbage.

The soup is what they call Thai Wonton, so I expected it to be something like wonton soup with lime flavoring. The description says that it has Kafir Lime Leaves in it, but the soup had almost no lime taste at all.

Pei Wei Spicy Korean Beef

Pei Wei Spicy Korean Beef

This dish was very good; nice and spicy with a good amount of beef. This is a decent portion for the price. The sauces here are on the thick side. I could do without the sesame seeds; but I enjoyed this dish.

If you know PF Changs then you know what you're getting here. It's not terribly authentic and everything is made to a specific recipe; but as Asian food goes in Fort Lauderdale, it's a pretty good lunch. They don't have dumplings (which I usually get with Chinese Takeout), and they don't have Chicken with Black Bean sauce (a favorite of mine) so they're not going to replace any of my Chinese food cravings, but for a sit down lunch in a nice, air-conditioned dining room they're a nice addition to the neighborhood.

No Comments

Comment Policy Add Comment