Review: Pei Wei Asian Diner

Jimmy has been talking about this new Asian restaurant that was opening soon for what seems like months, but I had never even heard of it and didn’t understand what all the hype was all about. Last night we were having trouble deciding what we wanted to do for dinner, so we just hopped in the car and drove around St. Johns Town Center hoping something would jump out at us. When we realized Pei Wei Asian Diner was open for dinner, we decided to give it a try. We got there right around 8 p.m. and the place was PACKED. Fortunately, we arrived after the early dinner rush and right before the late rush.

When you walk in, you head to the front counter to order, where they give you a table number. The menu is pretty large, so I would suggest looking it over before you get to the register. Otherwise you’ll be there for a while.

The drink station is fun because they have several Asian-style iced teas, along with those nifty Coke machines (like Firehouse Subs) that allow you to create any of 100 flavor combinations. The atmosphere is slightly dark and trendy with exposed brick walls, low lights, and black and red accents – I dig it.

We ordered the Chicken Lettuce Wraps ($6.95) as a starter and they were delicious! Four “bowls” of crisp iceberg lettuce and a healthy serving of chopped, yummy chicken and a sauce to drizzle over them if you choose. My piece of advice – go light on the sauce. It’s pretty salty.

For my entrée, I decided on the Coconut Curry Chicken with white rice ($8.25) and a Tsingtao (a light Asian beer) ($4.00). Big fan of that beer!

It is a little spicy and very flavorful. The sauce was nice and creamy with a hint of sweetness, and the vegetables were slightly crunchy. I’d definitely order it again.

Jimmy went with the Orange Peel Chicken ($8.25), extra spicy. It had a good flavor, but way too spicy for me. I would have ordered it the way it comes, but he enjoyed it (even though he was sweating bullets – literally! Reminded me a lot of our first date when the ketchup made him sweat, but that’s a story for another time…).

If you’re feeling ballsy and want to add an extra kick, several hot sauces are available. They looked fun and I really wanted to use them, but I just couldn’t man-up enough!

Five bites later, I was stuffed. The portions are HUGE! Thank goodness they have cute little to-go boxes easily accessible! I had nearly an entire meal leftover, as did Jimmy, which I enjoyed this afternoon for lunch.

But, of course, no Asian meal is complete without Fortune Cookies … and their fortune cookies are awesome! My fortune wasn’t too bad, either.

But Jimmy’s was better 🙂

Our total bill for two import beers, an appetizer, two entrées and dessert = $33.65.

Not too shabby for yummy food and lunch the next day! I’d definitely go back and recommend it to others.


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