Getting my Banh Mi on at @PFChangsCanada #ThePerfectLunch
Warm, soft dumplings, succulent seafood cooked to perfection and an ambiance that will make you want to cozy up.
I’m generally not a big fan of eating out when it comes to Asian food and it likely has to do with my dietary restrictions. I love seafood but there is often cross contamination with meat items and it leaves me feeling uneasy.
I was thrilled to recently attend a special invitation media lunch at P.F.Chang’s new location in Montreal. I had heard wonderful things about this restaurants chain from my American friends who boast about it being a date night favourite.
The first thing I did was ensure the food would be cooked with my special dietary needs in mind. I was thrilled when I learnt that not only are they incredibly particular about dietary restrictions but they go the extra step to make sure there is little chance of human error.
Our lunch began with soft, luscious vegetable dumplings that were shaped in beautiful nests. When I heard dumpling, I was expecting to see half moons. I was told by the servers that the shape of the vegetarian dumplings is unique to differentiate them from their meat counterparts. They are steamed then drizzled with a peanut sauce.
Alongside came the infamous lettuce wraps my P.F. Chang loving friends have been raving about. They were served with mushrooms, green onions, and water chestnuts over crispy rice sticks and paired with cool, crisp lettuce cups. While a little messy to eat, they are a P.F. Chang staple and a definite must try when you visit.
Then came the spicy black bean mussels. Oh, the mussels. Think garlicky, spicy mussels in a sauce to die for! It was served with crustini for dipping. I’m one spicy mama so this dish was right up my ally. The mussels were perfectly cooked, not too chewy and enrobed in the delicious spicy gravy. We had to ask for extra crustini to sop up all the goodness. Heaven forbid it went to waste. Just thinking about this is making my mouth water.
I took a break and enjoyed my virgin frozen yuzu punch with citrusy undertones. It was the perfect palate cleanser.
Following this came the roasted peanut salad with crisp noodles, tossed with a peanut sauce. It is traditionally served with chicken though I had the vegetarian alternative. The kitchen staff was both friendly and accommodating. They suggested I try the grilled eggplant in a mushroom based oyster sauce. It was….fantastic! Thick yet succulent pieces of eggplant were swimming in a sweet and spicy sauce. I found it paired very well with the peanut noodles.
Next up we had the new signature Banh Mi sandwich served in a soft baguette. I normally would not think of baguette when it comes to Asian food yet I was surprised to learn that baguette was the first kind of bread introduced in Vietnam. Its crust is thinner therefore softer and is often used to make Vietnamese sandwiches. The term is now synonymous with all bread in Vietnam.
The one I tried was a pan-seared tilapia. It is served with a Sriracha aoli and a slaw comprised of pickled daikon, carrots and cucumber. I enjoyed my sandwich and would highly recommend it as a go to lunch item as it is a good size, filling and is served with a giant salad or a cup of soup. The sandwich also comes in either a five spice chicken or Asian BBQ chicken.
I do not have a huge sweet tooth. I prefer savoury items however I do have a definite appreciation for presentation. Boy did P.F. Chang’s hit it out of the ballpark. We had a plethora of desert options to sample that ranged from the Great Wall of Chocolate (the name pretty much says it all; think six layers of fudgey chocolate cake plastered with a fudgy icing). Berry cheesecake which was dense and perfectly cheesy. Fruit sorbet that was a little tart yet very refreshing. Then there was, the crème de la crème of deserts; the Banana Spring Rolls. Six warm, crispy bites of banana wrapped in a thin wrapper then fried, served with coconut-pineapple ice cream and drizzled with luscious caramel and vanilla sauces. There is no way you can visit the restaurant and not try this desert! Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Many of these items are on the menu for a limited time offer, until September 30th and available in Canada only. I’d suggest checking them out soon, while they’re around and if you enjoy it, be sure to tell the wait staff. They’d love to hear from you.
The Banh Mi and Roasted Peanut Noodle Salad are available daily 11:30-4PM (for Lunch Only).
Many of the delectable items on the menu are offered with gluten-free alternatives. Be sure to ask your server when ordering.
It’s no secret that I’m a foodie. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I love to snap pictures of pretty food. I have a definite appreciation for presentation which would explain why I give P.F. Chang’s the CanadianMomEh two thumbs up. Go check it out.