Every town, big or small, seems to have a Chinese restaurant these days. Usually locally or family owned, these restaurants serve up familiar dishes in those nostalgic, white rectangular take-out boxes. The food itself, however, varies widely; some places serve deliciously prepared entrees. Others  gain a notoriety for food poisoning and low standards of quality.

For such a ubiquitous type of cuisine, I expected there to be many name-brand chains where people could come to expect the same, consistent dishes and flavors served at a steady, high quality. But alas, P.F. Chang’s, listed in our restaurant guide, is among the very few major names in Chinese cuisine to open multiple, national restaurants.

And the restaurant shines as its gluten-free menu provides customers with many great options to choose from.

Various 014

Like their Chang’s Chicken. Who thought that would be gluten-free? It’s breaded, fried, sugary and sweet, and utterly terrible for you. Just the way I like it.

For those who don’t have as much of a sweet tooth as I do, maybe Chang’s Chicken isn’t the way to go. So try their lettuce wraps. Honestly, when I saw the huge bowl of chicken and peanut medley with a stack of lettuce palms planted on a plate next to it, I was completely baffled. What an ugly garnish! I exclaimed.

Various 007

Kay and Annette looked at me quizzically then scooped up this suspicious smorgasbord into one of the lettuce palms and rolled it up like a burrito. I’ve tried lettuce wrap burgers once before, at Elevation Burger in Falls Church, to great success. I enjoyed this lettuce wrap idea, but the salt was layered on a bit heavy, and for some reason this dish, though gluten-free, tasted strongly of soy sauce; perhaps they used excessive amounts San-J’s gluten-free tamari (listed in our grocery guide), a bottle of which they left on our table with the meal.

Various 005

Their fried rice was, well, fried rice, exactly how you’d imagine it. In moderate amounts, the aforementioned tamari suited the rice quite nicely, which tasted quite delicious beneath a healthy portion of Chang’s Chicken. Dessert provided us with a cone-shaped flourless chocolate cake that was more fudge than anything else. Only a smidgen of real cake lay at the base. It was delicious, but entirely unusual and unexpected.

Various 025

Have any of you been to P.F. Chang’s? What did you think of its gluten-free menu? Let us know!