Keeping with the fast casual trend I went back to PF Chang's version on SE 17th Street. They take PF Chang's gift cards, and I still have some left on one.
I think there are way too many restaurants on SE 17th, particularly off season, because they all seem pretty empty. This one was totally empty at 2:30; I'd dined in a virtually empty PDQ the other day.
Pei Wei SE 17th Street
I think this play is on austerity; the cashier girl was out clearing tables and I had to wait for her to return. I decided to try the sushi again, and I got a "small" Steak with Orange Peel, sub fried rice. I forgot to order a drink; the girl just gave me a cup. It's a good thing I didn't pay for a drink; because they only had the awful "cinnamon & vanilla" ice tea, I ended up just getting some ice water.
The sushi came out first.
Pei Wei Spicy Tuna Roll
No pickled ginger at this location. The sushi wasn't as good as the other location. Why do we think that 90 cents a piece is a good price for this stuff?
The entree came out a minute later. I wonder how large the "large" portion is?
Pei Wei Orange Peel Steak
The steak was chunkier than you usually get in Chinese food; something new or lazy prep? As with all of their dishes, too many carrots and the sauce was too sweet; no spicy enough. Meh. I ate the beef and the snap peas and took home most of the rice.
A lot of food for $12. But mediocre at best.
Pei Wei quietly opened on SE 17th next to also recently opened Shula Burger and Chipotle. This is the 2nd Pei Wei in Fort Lauderdale, along with their parent company, PF Changs in the Galleria Mall. Maybe it's just too much of the same stuff.
This location is smaller than the location on US1; it's a narrow space with the register and kitchen to the right as you enter.
Pei Wei SE 17th Interior
I've tried a few things here and haven't liked anything other than the Mongolian Beef; one of the "signature" dishes of PF Changs. I wasn't going to be adventurous; I ordered the Mongolian combo with Steak, hot and sour soup and Fried Rice; $6.25 plus 50 cents for the beef and $1 for fried rice instead of white or brown.
You pay the bill, they give you a cup (ice water is free) and a red number, and you go to get your utensils, condiments, fill your drink and take seat. Supposedly they use the numbers to locate you, but someone stopped by with the wrong order so it must not be foolproof.
I was sitting for a while and I wondered why I didn't get my soup; it's not like they were whipping up a batch just for me. I checked my receipt and it didn't have the soup on it. I wondered if the cashier didn't put it in correctly. But then a runner came by with the soup and the entree; the last time I ate in at a Pei Wei they brought me the soup as soon as I sat down.
Pei Wei Hot and Sour Soup
This wasn't as good as the soup I'd gotten in Plantation; it had the consistency of gravy, and it had a lot of stuff in it. Not hot or sour; it wasn't terrible but it didn't taste like hot and sour soup either.
Pei Wei Mongolian Beef Combo
The lopsided portion of rice and lack of beef caught my eye, and the beef didn't look like it was from a very good cut. There was no melding of flavors; the beef with brown sauce, scallions and mushrooms had no commonality of flavor, which kept this from tasting anything like Mongolian Beef. The fried rice wasn't good either; it was steamed and didn't have the greasy goodness you get from a chinese restaurant where the rice comes straight from a Wok. Steamed rice is not fried rice.
I've been to Pei Wei 4 times and each time I've liked it less. Maybe its because of the cooking at the specific locations, but what I had today was no better than you'd get in a mall. The two items I liked at Pei Wei previously, the Hot and Sour soup and the Mongolian Beef, weren't very good at all.
Pei Wei Asian Diner 2390 N Federal Hwy Pompano Beach FL, 33062 (12/26/2014)
Pei Wei Fort Lauderdale 1730 N Federal Hwy Fort Lauderdale FL, 33305 (05/26/2011)
Pei Wei Asian Diner 1914 NE 5th Ave Boca Raton FL, 33431 (05/14/2011)
Pei Wei Plantation 522 N. Pine Island Rd Plantation FL, 33324 (03/29/2011)