Peter Chang’s, Smyrna GA
This evening was one of those nights where dinner could not get off the ground. When we arrived, we were told that it would be 35 minutes to be seated. Not a problem – Saturday night at Peter Chang’s I expected to wait. However, when we were shown to our table, it was not to our liking and we asked for another table only to be told there were none available. To the staff’s credit, they really tried to accommodate us – the restaurant was just full. So, we decided to stay where we were. Bad decision #1. We were right on the edge of the bar area, and a large party (and that term is highly accurate) gathered at the bar waiting to be seated. It was loud, they were obnoxious, and I was on the verge of violence. Fortunately, our soup showed up at the right time and my blood pressure went down just a wee bit enough for me to regain my composure and avoid arrest.
The Peter Chang story epitomizes the American Dream. Born and trained in China, served meals to the Chinese President, came to the United States to prepare meals in the Chinese Embassy. Since then he’s been hop-scotching around the South and mid-Atlantic states being a serial restaurateur, each to widespread critical acclaim.
We began with our meals with our regular soups – I had the hot and sour and Melanie had the Won Ton. Both were surprisingly different that what we’d been used to at “Chinese” restaurants. My hot and sour soup, rather than being heavily peppered had a rich tomato broth and was very flavorful.
Immediately obvious to even the casual observer, was the large number of Chinese guests at Peter Chang’s. This tells me that this is true-to-form, authentic Chinese as such you will probably find in few places in Atlanta. For those of us who are accustomed to American-style Chinese, Peter Chang’s graciously offers an Americanized menu. This is what we chose from (bad decision #2) and, in retrospect, should be avoided. I like to compare apples-to-apples so many times I will order similar dishes in order to properly assess how well I like a dish from place to place. I urge readers in this case to step out on a limb, leave your comfort zone and discover the authentic Szechuan cooking that Peter Chang’s has to offer. Guten appetit!
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