23632 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630
I have never been to Pei Wei. The little brother of P.F. Chang's, this fast/casual offspring has escaped my attention until now. As I had said in my original review of P.F. Chang's, I never really crave Chinese food. I like it well enough, but Chinese food is so hit and miss, that I do not usually bother with it. Katie, however has been talking up their shrimp pad thai, so we decided to give it a try.
We walked in at about seven o'clock on a Sunday night. The place was packed. Sleek looking decor, and video screen menu boards, met us as we entered. We ordered at the counter and made our way to the new fangled drink bar. I had heard that some Pei Wei's had new Coke machines that had over one hundred offerings, but this one did not. It did have a good amount of Coca Cola choices and some of the best ice tea from a fast/casual restaurant ever. Okay, so let's get to the food.
To start off our meal I ordered two Pork Egg Rolls. These are filled with pork, napa cabbage, carrots, scallions, and black mushrooms. These were also served with a spicy mustard sauce. I liked these a lot. They were good without being greasy, and the mustard sauce was good, when I alternated between that and soy sauce.
For my meal, I took a chance on the Thai Dynamite with Chicken. This is a chili based dish, with carrots, bell peppers, scallions and soy sauce. It was fair. I expected it to be more spicy, but it was rather bland tasting. It did get better after I had added some Rooster sauce. I got the brown rice, which I like better than the white, but it is just okay.
Here is the reason Katie wanted to come here, the Shrimp Pad Thai. This dish combines pad thai with tofu, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, egg, and cilantro. I actually liked this better than my choice, and I do not say that about many places that Katie and I go. I liked the flavor of this a lot. The peanuts added a little crunch that made this dish have a good texture. Good solid choice.
I liked this place. It had a nice casual vibe that was less stuffy than P.F. Chang's. Their menu is a little more reasonable also. All of their items are under $10. The staff here were a little slow at cleaning up tables, but there were plenty of places to sit, so it was not a problem. I am still looking for a Chinese place to knock me off of my feet, so if you know of one, leave me a comment, or send me an e-mail.
Out of five panda bears, five being best to zero being worst, Pei Wei gets 2.5 panda bears.
If you would like more info on Pei Wei, click here: http://www.peiwei.com/index.html