Peter Chang China Cafe made its home in a Short Pump shopping center last April. Since then, followers and fans have made the trip to eat here. Lucky for me, this place is just a few miles from home. Maybe one of the only perks of nesting in the ‘burbs.
Peter Chang, besides being known for his amazing and hyped up food, is associated with an aloof “come and go” style. Once he gets a restaurant up, running, and cooks trained, he leaves – paving the road for another great Szechuan eatery.
Here you’ll find the crowd diverse as ever. From content regulars, to families and their noisy children, to hipsters voyaging out from the Fan and sexier parts of the city. Everyone gladly accepts the hearty dinner wait (for us, 45 minutes), and holds on to their paper ticket number – no buzzers… no names taken… it’s as simple as you can get.
Service is prompt and swift. On one rare occasion, our server was incredibly disgruntled to the point I felt compelled to apologize that she had to wait on us. But by the time we got our food it didn’t even matter. You don’t go to Peter Chang’s for the service.
The menu offers familiar ‘Chinese’ fare like Kung Pao Chicken ($13) and Mongolian Beef ($15) but also boasts authentic dishes like Golden Mountain Chicken ($13), Beef Stew served in a clay pot ($18), and Tea Smoked Duck with fried onion ($18). Although you can play it safe, you might want to branch out and select something different. Different is good.
Taking my own advice, I’ve become a stickler for the Basil Chicken ($14). Basil, leeks, and spicy green peppers dance among large slices of seared chicken. This is not for the folks who can’t handle spice. Every bite is a kick of fresh and unique flavor.
Jian Jang Chicken (might be funny to say 10 times) was also a pleasant surprise. Served similar to a DIY burrito, this arrived with pancakes (similar to tortillas), sauce, shredded chicken and cucumbers ($14).
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