For a change of pace and a true Pan Asian fusion experience without a wallop to the wallet, take the family to Pei Wei Asian Diner at 8885 Ladue Rd.
Located in Ladue Crossing at the Interstate 170/Ladue Road interchange, Pei Wei’s popularity has grown by leaps and bounds since its opening in February 2007. As its menu attests, diners can take a tour of five countries with its blend of dishes from China, Japan, Thailand, Korea and Vietnam.
As part of the P.F. Chang China Bistro concept, Pei Wei serves delicious, freshly prepared, wok-seared contemporary pan-Asian cuisine. However, the atmosphere is more laid-back and prices are lower than P.F. Chang.
General Manager Cara Stephens said, “It’s the quick, casual concept. We don’t have a full service wait staff. Customers help themselves to their drinks and silverware, and that makes a price difference.”
The red and black décor puts customers in an “Asian state of mind.” Tables and booths and a black banquette are comfy and do not have the aura of a “fast food” restaurant.
Customers order at the counter and can watch the chefs at work behind the flaming grill. Service is quick, and the food arrives at the right temperature, be it hot or cold.
It’s kid-friendly, which is a plus for today’s families, in which both moms and dads work.
“St. Louis Magazine voted us 'Best meal out for kids' last year,” Stephens said. “That’s a big draw for us.”
The honey-seared chicken or shrimp is one of the big menu hits, she said. It comes with honey garlic sauce, chili oil, rice sticks, scallions, and red bell peppers.
“Another popular item is our minced chicken with cool lettuce wraps (shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, rice sticks, and iceberg lettuce) for $6.25. That is from P.F. Chang’s menu,” Stephens said.
"Another frequent request is the Pei Wei Spicy, our version of General Chu, with chili vinegar sauce, scallions, garlic, snap peas, and carrots. (Chicken is $8.25; beef is $8.50; Shrimp is $9.25; and vegetables and tofu is $7.50.) It’s sweet and spicy, very flavorful.”
Pei Wei also offers a selection of beer and wine.
Customers wanting take-out can call, order online or fax in their order.