Founded in Arizona in 1993, P.F. Chang's is a fast growing company-owned chain restaurant. Not your typical Chinese restaurant, Chang's décor is modern and crisp, with a subtle nod to more classical Chinese design. A stately horse statue greets patrons at the restaurant entrance, while inside, replicas of Chinese warriors watch over the bustling dining room. The wait staff and specially trained chefs are equally attentive- and willing to assist the needs of a special diet.
With two locations in town now, San Antonians are still lining up to sample Chang's "Traditional Chinese offerings as well as innovative dishes that illustrate the emerging influence of Southeast Asia on modern Chinese cuisine." Celiacs, too, thanks to the restaurant's special gluten intolerant menu, can discover a wide range of dishes from which to choose.
The gluten-free menu was developed several years ago due to a tremendous increase in requests from restaurant guests and from the guest comments section on the Web site. According to Laura Cherry, P.F. Chang's Director of Public Relations, it just made sense for them to review their menu and develop dishes that, if prepared a certain way, would be good options for guests with special dietary needs. They sourced a wheat free soy sauce so that all of their chefs could execute the gluten-free menu, and then educated the chefs about the importance of the menu. According to Cherry, "Unlike many of the special orders we prepare to accommodate a guest's food preferences, celiac isn't a choice; it is a health issue and our employees realize that."
Upon arrival, ask for the gluten-free menu. You will find that it has recently been expanded. The gluten free menu includes GF Egg Drop Soup, and the very popular Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps. There are numerous choices of chicken and seafood entrees and a recent update has added seven beef dishes for you to choose from.
Even when ordering from the gluten-free menu, it is still a good idea to remind the server about your gluten-free requirements and to verify them again when the food is served. If there is any question about whether or not something is gluten free, just ask for the manager on duty.
P.F. Chang's prepares all of their dishes with fresh, high quality ingredients, using Mandarin style wok cooking in their exhibition kitchen. Reservations are strongly encouraged, especially for the busy lunch and dinner hours.
Be sure you save room for the Flourless chocolate Dome served with fresh berries and raspberry sauce.
The above update was written by Anne Barfield in September, 2010.