Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More problems at P.F. Chang's China Bistro

Spinach Stir-Fried with Garlic at P.F. Chang's China Bistro in Hackensack.

I also asked for green beans stir-fried with garlic, but the server delivered the vegetables made with spicy chili sauce and Sichuan preserves.


Here is how to survive the sloppy lunch service and food preparation at P.F. Chang's China Bistro in Hackensack:

Order in a clear, loud voice, and make sure the waiter understands you want the small size, not the large.

If the kitchen screws up the order or the food is cold, send it back -- and keep on sending it back until the cooks get it right.

Look over your itemized receipt, and if you are charged for the large size, when you wanted the small, ask for an adjustment.

Last resort: Don't go there again; go to Lotus Cafe just down the street, at 450 Hackensack Ave., in the Home Depot Shopping Center.

I asked for asparagus stir-fried with garlic, but got Sichuan-style Asparagus instead.

"Sichuan preserves" taste like pickles.

Why go back?

I learned my lesson on Jan. 20, the first time I met friends at P.F. Chang's in The Shops at Riverside, an upscale mall in Hackensack, where the silverware was spotted with water, the soy sauce container was filthy and the server screwed up my order of three vegetables stir-fried with garlic.


P.F. Chang's: Greasy fingerprints, water spots and more

But Zinburger in Paramus, where we planned to eat today, was closed due to a water-main break, and my friend Gene loved the P.F. Chang's Mongolian Beef he had last time and insisted on going back.

The lunch menu lists sides, including Spinach Stir-Fried with Garlic (small, $2.95; large, $4.95).

I ordered that and asked for small sizes of Sichuan-style Asparagus and Spicy Green Beans to be made the same way -- with just oil and garlic.

Serg, the server, said he understood, but brought me large servings of the asparagus and green beans made with spicy chili paste or sauce and Sichuan preserves, which taste like pickles.

I didn't look over my itemized receipt until I got home, where I discovered I had been charged $4.95 each.

But there were other problems:

Serg brought the vegetables, but forgot my bowl of brown rice and had to go back to get it.

My friend Stanley said his order of Mongolian Beef wasn't even warm, but he didn't want to send it back and wait for a replacement -- he was too hungry.

Gene found the lunch portion of Mongolian Beef ($10.95) suggested by the server too small and ordered a second.

When we were leaving, an employee handed us cards for $10 off a $40 purchase from Feb. 17 to March 31.

A pot of full-leaf green tea was $3.50.

This beautiful example of cloisonne is in a wall niche.


  1. Why did you go back? Lotus Cafe is great. Why settle for cold food at a fast food chain?

    1. I usually pick our lunch spot, but my friend wanted to go there and I agreed. Next time ...


Please try to stay on topic.