Merrill Shindler - Senior Zagat Editor

Merrill Shindler

L.A. Senior Zagat Editor

For Whom the Bell Chang’s

To survive in the highly competitive world of nationwide restaurants, you have to strike a careful balance between consistency -- and a willingness to change. A Big Mac is a Big Mac is a Big Mac. And yet, with regular irregularity, fans of Mickey D's show up for McRib sandwiches -- a break from routine, that makes everything taste that much fresher. In the case of PF Chang's, diners can always count on Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps, their Salt & Pepper Calamari, their Northern-Style Spareribs, their Crispy Honey Chicken. But these days, there's something more -- more for those who crave something more.

Gently, carefully, PF Chang's has begun to explore the very tasty world of the cooking of Southeast Asia with a handful of dishes from Thailand -- and an acknowledgement of the flavors of Vietnamese as well. These days, the menu includes such temptations Thai Basil Greens Salad, Vietnamese Crab Salad, Thai Chicken Noodle Salad and, for a limited time, Pad Thai Noodles (with chicken, shrimp, or both). Very tasty stuff -- and hopefully a harbinger of more to come. At the same time, there's also a Gluten-Free Menu, with 16 "GF" dishes -- including Crab Fried Rice, Chang's Spicy Chicken, and Singapore Street Noodles. Making what was already America's most popular family-friendly Chinese restaurant -- that much more family-friendly.

With dozens of branches from coast to coast, from Boston to Boca Raton and Bethesda to Bellevue (including several dozen in California), it's time to stop viewing the PF Chang's China Bistro chain as a clever novelty (born in the very non-Asian enclave of Scottsdale, Arizona in 1993) – a clever attempt at creating an authentic Chinese restaurant in a user-friendly setting that won't scare away those who find Monterey Park a little too real. In a very real sense, PF Chang's is how many American perceive Chinese food. It may not be as ubiquitous as the Panda Inn chain. But it also comes across as more serious in terms of its cuisine. Chang's is the bellwether for where we're going, en masse, in terms of the diverse cooking of China.

The menu is large at Chang's, even though it's something of a greatest hits list, offering about 130 dishes – minimalist in terms of local Chinese restaurants, but still plenty to choose from), with a Pan-China selection of dishes from Canton, Shanghai, Szechwan, Hunan and Mongolia. This is a Chinese restaurant for those who want cloth napkins, waiters who ask if they're enjoying their meal, a glass of something other than generic white wine poured from a gallon bottle.

At PF Chang's, the style is brisk, breezy, open, light and very, well, California. If anything, this is a child of Chinois on Main, with its seats at the kitchen counter, allowing diners to spend a pleasant evening watching the chefs do what they do.

In terms of food, PF Chang's walks a careful line between..

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Chinese Restaurants In Atlantic City

2801 N. Pacific Ave. #101
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 348-­4600 See the location of P.F. Chang's - Atlantic City on a map Map
Cuisine: Chinese
Services: Affordable Dining, Family Style, Online Take Out , Private Dining, Catering, Takeout, Reservations
 
2100 Pacific Ave
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 449-­1044 See the location of Morton's The Steakhouse - Atlantic City on a map Map
Cuisine: Steak
Services: Private Dining
The Outlets at The Walk
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 344-­5833 See the location of Ruth's Chris Steak House - Atlantic City on a map Map
Cuisine: Steak
Services: Private Dining
Revel Resort Casino, 500 Boardwalk
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 225-­9900 See the location of Amada on a map Map
Cuisine: Spanish Tapas
Services: Private Dining
1 Borgata Way
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(866) 692-­6742 See the location of Bobby Flay Steak on a map Map
Cuisine: Steakhouse
Services: Private Dining
1 Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 674-­0100 See the location of Buddakan on a map Map
Cuisine: Chinese
Services: Reservations
111 S Albion Pl.
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 345-­2022 See the location of Chef Vola's on a map Map
Cuisine: Italian
Services: Authentic, Outdoor Seating
2405 Atlantic Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 345-­0092 See the location of Dock's Oyster House on a map Map
Cuisine: Seafood
Services: Authentic, Private Dining
One Borgata Way
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
 See the location of N.O.W. on a map Map
Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Services: Takeout
The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, 1 Borgata Way
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 317-­1000 See the location of Old Homestead Steakhouse on a map Map
Cuisine: Steakhouse
Services: Private Dining
Pier Shops at Caesars, 1 Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 674-­8300 See the location of The Continental on a map Map
Cuisine: Tapas
Services: Authentic, Private Dining
300 Oriental Ave.
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 344-­8669 See the location of Tony Boloney's on a map Map
Cuisine: Pizza, Sub Sandwiches
Services: Affordable Dining, Authentic, Online Take Out , Outdoor Seating, Catering, Takeout, Delivery
2301 Arctic Avenue
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 345-­8599 See the location of White House Sub Shop on a map Map
Cuisine: Sandwiches
Services: Affordable Dining, Takeout