The Spot: PF Chang's China Bistro (one of eight locations across the valley) 740 South Mill Avenue #140, Tempe (480) 731-4600 http://www.pfchangs.com
The Hours: Every day of the week, including weekends, from 3 to 6 pm.
The Details: Everything on the happy hour menu is $3 to $6 between 3 and 6 p.m. Get it? Beer, sake, wells, wine, fancy cocktails and sixteen different appetizers ranging from simple wontons to dynamite shrimp are part of the deal.
(the happy hour breakdown after the jump)
The Interior: PF Chang's has a classy, open air atmosphere accented by lots of rich, dark wood and a gem tone color palate. The Asian influence is seen in the pan-Asian accessories and dominating replicas of the terracotta war horses and warriors typically found at the Chinese Cultural Center. Happy hour deals are good across the entire restaurant, so you can choose whether to dine at the bar's high-top tables for two or standard seating in the dining room.
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The Cost: Two import drafts and three appetizers for $20 before tip and tax.
The Conclusion: The decor and service at PF Chang's are always topnotch. If only the quality of the food were up to the same standards. Nothing was bad, just a little generic. It all seemed to be variations on the same salty, brown sauce. To be fair, there were thirteen other appetizers on the happy hour menu that we didn't try, some of which were neither brown nor gooey, so there may be hope yet.
The chicken lettuce wraps ($5) were crisp and refreshing, but uber-salty and oddly on the chewy side, definitely better with a higher lettuce to chicken ratio. Chang's spare ribs ($6) were a bit inconsistent, tender with a salty sweet glaze, but at times they were stringy. The coleslaw on the side was some sort of strange, mustardy concoction that was fresh and crisp but bland and a little out of place. The fried egg rolls ($3) with hot mustard sauce were surprisingly the best thing that we had, aside from the tall, cool Kirin ($3) that is.
Overall Grade: C+