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Pei Wei Asian Diner - Fast Casual "Pan-Asian" Chain from P.F. Chang's, Several Unfortunate Area Locations

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Well that was just brutal.

Pei Wei is a new-ish fast casual restaurant from PF Changs which just opened a south Dupont Circle location, on 18th Street next door to Nando's. Mmmm...Nando's.

Their menu follows all the fast casual asian trends..choose from noodles, rice bowls, lettuce wraps, etc, then add a sauce and a protein.


Now I imagine the folks on this board aren't big fans in general of PF Chang, but I've found if you order carefully, you can get a decent meal there.

That could also be the case here, but my first experience isn't likely to lead to enough visits to find out.

I went with a "Pei Wei Spicy" with brown rice and steak. First the positive: the brown rice was fine.

The steak was about the lowest quality you can use and still actually call it steak. Spongy, chewy, tasteless, the whole nine yards. The thick, goopy sauce had a slight hint of spice in the background, but the taste was predominantly sweet....so very sweet. The whole combination was utterly distasteful...I picked out and ate the inoffensive pea pods, tried another few bites of steak, then threw it away.

To be fair, there are a zillion combinations to choose from, and I'm sure there are plently of things that are better than what I got. I like PF Chang's kung pao shrimp...maybe I'll try that at Pei Wei if I have a short memory and choose to give it another shot. But really, this meal made Panda Express seem gormet.

Now for the good news...a Coke Freestyle machine! Can't go wrong with Fanta-free Grape.

Finally, I don't care a lot about nutrition when it comes to eating out...I generally try to turn a blind eye and accept that I'll have to balance out any restaurant meal with a few days of fozen yogurt...but the small amount I ate at Pei Wei was sitting so heavily in my stomach that I called up the nutricional info when I got back to the office. Had I eaten my whole bowl, it would have been 1690 calories, 53 g fat, and 2310 mg of sodium. Zowie. Again, they have a really big menu with many healthier options, but still.

Incidentally, the only reason I went here was because Newton's Noodles was still closed. I blame you, Newton's Noodles and DC inspectors!!!

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I'd seen this place out by the Fair Lakes Whole Foods, and figured it was a nasty corporate chain, but had no idea it was owned by P.F. Chang's. Thanks for the warning, and for taking one for the team. Especially after reading this post, I seriously doubt I'll ever set foot in one of these restaurants.

But really, this meal made Panda Express seem gourmet.

I believe it. In moments of desperation, I've been to Panda Express a couple of times, most recently at King's Dominion. It's bad, but it's not *as* bad as you might fear - I got plain old vegetables on white rice, so I ordered about as well as you can order.

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I went to Pei Wei once in Sterling, since it's near my office. I didn't care for it at all.

I also went to one in Orlando, IIRC, and it was a bit better, but still - wouldn't have been my choice.

I'd rather take my chances on just about any random {Hunan|Szechuan|Chinese} {Cafe|Express|King} type place...

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I am eating Pei-Wei right now. I confess, I was curious. I was, for some reason, in the mood for something other than Suki Asia.  I deserve what I got.

First, the positive:  the coke is great.

Now the negatives:
Pei Wei SPicy Chicke Salad = deep fried chciken in something sweet-gloopy with a hint of heat served on top of an iceberg salad.  Not bad if you like that sort of thing.

Spicy Tuna Roll is not going to kill me.

Thai Wonton Soup might kill me. It tastes soapy.

I can't wait to forget this $15 mistake.

EDITed with update: I couldn't eat that !@#$.  It's in the trash and i'm very hungry.

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