Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pei Wei

So, even though this place opened awhile ago right near my house, it has taken me awhile to try it—I guess partly because it is a chain, and partly because I imagined it as a fast food type of option, which is not something I do a lot.  But I was in a hurry and needed to stop for something quick to go one day and decided, why not?

Well, first of all, it really isn’t fast food—in that it wasn’t really very fast.  The carry out takes a good 10 minutes or so, which is fine, but just be prepared if you are in a real hurry.  But it was made hot and fresh and took a bit.  The interior isn’t really fast food-ish either, although it does feel very corporate (it is owned by PF Chang’s) (They also have one of those soda machines that you can mix a million different flavors of things if you are so inclined).

One of the things that had intrigued me about the place was the fact that a friend had told me he loved their hot and sour soup.  So I got a cup of that ($2) as well as a couple of small portion items so that I could try several things.  The flavor of the soup wasn’t bad, it had a good amount of the “sour” flavor that I like from the vinegar, but it suffered from the overstarchy consistency that really bugs me in hot and sour soup if it is overdone.  You feel almost like you are eating warm savory jello or something.
black bean chicken in the box
I also tried the chicken and black bean sauce ($3.95).  This was definitely my favorite of the dishes that I tried.  Honestly, even though they sell these more as tapas types of dishes, one of these portions is a very healthy lunch in my opinion.  There was rice on the bottom (your choice of white or brown, I got white) and the dish consisted of minced chicken, red onions, carrots, green onion and peppers with a “tangy black pepper sauce.”  In theory there were Chinese black beans, but I didn’t see any.  I liked this dish—it had more flavor and less sweetness than a lot of quick serve Chinese food, and I would consider getting this one again.  It was a bit tangy and you could taste the garlic and soy; and the onions, while still crunchy, were sautéed enough that you didn’t feel like they were just raw.  One benefit of mincing the chicken so finely, if it was a little dry (which often seems to happen with Chinese food), you didn’t really notice because it was little teeny pieces covered in the sauce.
about 1/2 of each dish on a dinner plate

The Singapore noodle dish ($3.95) wasn’t as good for me.  It was sautéed egg noodles with bean sprouts, red pepper, carrots, chicken, sesame seeds and cilantro.  This one had too much of that sweet and sour flavor for me (it was described as a sweet chili soy sauce) I liked the freshness from the cilantro and the crunchy veggies on top to break up all the noodles, but I couldn’t get past the overly sweet flavor.  The chicken was dry as well.  Although hubby came in while I was eating it and shared them both with me (all the food together was definitely enough for two people to share for lunch in my opinion), and he seemed to enjoy the noodles.

It’s an option, and it is better than actual fast food which is very prevalent around my house (as are chains sadly).  It may work its way into my lunch every once in awhile, but I can’t say it will probably be a regular thing for me.  But there really isn’t a lot of good Chinese around me that is relatively cheap and so I can see this being a possible option on occasion.

Pei Wei
6159 N Keystone Ave
Indy, 46220
Pei Wei Asian Diner on Urbanspoon


  1. Funny timing, as my wife and I ate there last night (also for the first time).
    I had the Dan Dan noodles, which were good... but very americanized (muted a bit in seasoning - seasoning other than salt, I should mention). Some sambal helped a lot for my chile-loving taste.
    In general I found it better than most Chinese restaurants (Sichuan in Carmel is still my fave!). I'd order the noodle dish again, for sure. Fairly reasonable prices, too - especially compared to their parent (PF Changs)

  2. If you're in that neck of the woods and want cheap but great Chinese food, I recommend Taiwan Teahouse. It's on 82nd a bit east of Keystone, right next to Barnes & Noble. All the dishes are under $7 (lunch or dinner) and made fresh. I probably ate their twice a week for a couple years and never got tired of it. :)

  3. If you want good Chinese carry-out try King Dragon on 62nd west of Keystone. They have really good hot and sour soup and I love the beef with garlic sauce. You can also get brown rice instead of white.

  4. Our go to for Chinese take out is First Wok over by Big Lots on Alisonville and 62nd Ave. I've tried Sidewok Cafe in BR which isn't too bad and Bamboo House over by the Keystone Deli which is better than Sidewok, and we've always felt like First Wok was best in the area.

  5. Thick Hot and Sour makes me cry.

  6. I tried Pei Wei last weekend because I was craving noodles. I liked the clean efficiency of the place, and easy to understand menu.

    Sadly, my Dan Dan noodles were really, really soft. Then, the contents of my spring roll were vegetables that were hard to bite through, making long strands of them came out with each bite. So, not too impressed with the food. I'd still give it one more try.