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September 16, 2009

P.F. Chang's Debuts New Children's Menu

Eating out with children can be a real challenge. Especially when they morph into picky eaters like my 3 year-old. Picky eaters who only want to eat at restaurants that serve gloppy, neon-colored macaroni and cheese. P.F. Chang's has just launched a new first time ever Kids Menu and we were asked to review it. I could hardly wait.

Timing is everything with kids so we decided to head out to an early weekend lunch when the kids were rested and the restaurant would not be crowded. If a meltdown happened or a child threw some food it would not be so disastrous. Having eaten at P.F. Chang's in the past I know what their food is like, however I have not ventured there with kids. I was curious to see what this new menu would be like. Prior to our visit I joked to a friend that I better not see any chicken nuggets with sweet and sour dipping sauce on the menu.

We were seated in the comfortable dining room and immediately both kids begin to take in the sights and sounds. The three year old loved the murals and her kiddie cat menu. I had to steer her away from the coloring activities a few times just to figure out what she wanted to eat. The Kid Menu consists of four choices (Baby Buddha's Feast-the vegetarian choice, Chicken Fried Rice, Kid's Lo Mein and Kid's Chicken). It is short and to the point and I was grateful for that. It makes it real easy for little ones to order for themselves without having to remember different sides, sauces, etc. So yes, I was correct the Kid's Chicken comes with sweet and sour dipping sauce. I guess the joke is on me. My kid ordered it too but with the honey sauce on the side. I ordered a Baby Buddha's Feast to round it out and add some vegetables and rice to the mix.

When the food arrived my daughter dug right in. Shortly after her first bite she said to her father, "This is so yummy! Have some! You have to trrrrry it!!" He did and so did I. I admit to being pleasantly surprised too. Instead of the typical fried little nuggets of chicken most kids get at restaurants the P.F. Chang's Kid's Chicken consists of lightly battered chicken that is juicy, tender and has a hint of ginger to it. I wanted to eat a few more myself. The soy/honey sauce was a great accompaniment as well. Since then I have had to make it for my daughter at home on more than one occasion. The Baby Buddha's Feast has broccoli, carrots and snap peas in it and it was crisp and flavorful. The baby loved it and kept trying to swipe more off the plate.

Once we were finished with the whole meal, including three mini desserts (perfect for kids!), I asked the three year-old what she thought of the entire meal and restaurant experience. She proclaimed it, "Good!" with lots of enthusiasm. She's three, that's four stars in her book. She actually really enjoyed using the chopsticks, seeing the giant stone horse outside and trying all the foods. I think the added S'more dessert made her day. Not once during the whole visit did we have a huffy, cranky-pants meltdown either.

Overall I found the P.F. Chang's Kids Menu to be a big hit. There is something for everyone, prices are affordable ($3-5 for kids meals) for the kids and there are some great deals going on for adults right now too. Even better is that it is a bit more on the adult side in terms of atmosphere and style and yet it makes room for the little ones. There's good food, good service and it is all there for the whole family. A great lunch was had by all and now we have another option when it comes to dining out with the kids. One that doesn't involve fries or macaroni and cheese too.
Thank you to P.F. Chang's and the Fair Oaks, VA staff for making it a memorable experience. We enjoyed getting to know your restaurant again in a whole new way.

MPR Rating: Five Stars.


Stephanie said...

PF Chang's also gets points in my book for leading the way in national chains offering a gluten-free menu.