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I know quite a few KSL listeners who enjoy eating at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. But P.F. Chang’s is so popular that it’s sometimes difficult to get a table. Well, I recently discovered an alternative to P.F. Chang’s – a place with P.F Chang’s style of food and ambiance, but without the wait.
It’s a restaurant on 21st South in Sugarhouse called Pei Wei Asian Diner. It’s spelled P-E-I-W-E-I and looks like it would be pronounced “pee wee” but I’m told it’s Pei Wei, all the way. Pei Wei Asian Diner is the creation of the same folks who brought you P.F Chang’s and many of the menu items are the same. For example, you can get those delicious minced chicken lettuce wraps that made P.F. Chang’s famous at Pei Wei. But the biggest difference between P.F. Chang’s and Pei Wei are the prices and the service. Everything on the Pei Wei menu is under 10 bucks and costs are kept low by the fast-food style of service. You walk in, place an order, get your own drinks and then a server delivers your meal to your table.
However the ambiance at Pei Wei is anything but fast food. It’s a subtly lit, very contemporary and attractive restaurant that just doesn’t have a franchise feel – especially if you’re sitting out on the patio as the sun sets in the west.
The menu at Pei Wei mostly consists of noodle bowls, rice bowls, and some signature dishes like their Asian coconut green curry which is great with shrimp and scallops. But you could also choose to have it with chicken, beef, or veggies. I also liked the Mandarin Kung Pao chicken but was less enamored with the Dan Dan noodles, which were way too spicy for my taste. So for an Asian flair, I recommend finding your way to Pei Wei: A new, casual Asian diner on 21st South.