If you follow the “RVA food people” on twitter you know about Peter Chang’s (11424 W. Broad St), you would know that he had a big dinner with all a ton of media people when he first opened his place in the Wal-Mart shopping center in Short Pump. I was online that night watching the pictures of food from everyone from @KarriPeifer to @echadwilliams feeling oh so envious as they wrote about how stuffed they were as the courses kept coming.
I am not in the inner circle and it was hard to not be completely jealous of plate after plate of food that I would have been very happy to eat.
Since then, every food person in town has been raving and writing that Peter Chang is a genius. They say, if you don’t love it, it is because you do not appreciate what it is, meaning that you, the uneducated diner, are not good enough to know what you should and shouldn’t like. The regular Joe reviewers on yelp and the like, don’t have all that great things to say because the expectations have been raised astronomically high and at the end of the day it is just food, not a cure for cancer.
Where do I fall? Somewhere in the middle.
We went for a weekend lunch and I made Evan promise me that we would order things we would never normally order. This was our chance to be adventurous! We started with the Scallion Bubble Pancake that was unlike anything I had ever seen. It wasn’t as impressive to eat, but who cares. The wow of it coming to the table was worth the $5. Two perfectly puffed balls of dough that looked like they could have floated into outer space.
For entrees we ordered the Beef with Three Pepper and Hot Iron Plate and the Shredded Pork with Bamboo Shoots and Shredded Tofu. (I didn’t even know that you could eat bamboo. I know they make shirts and salad tongs from it, but mostly my relationship with bamboo is from my mom’s backyard where my brother would cut down stalks for art projects.)
Don’t get me wrong, the food was good, but I may have enjoyed it more if we ordered something different. In hindsight I wish that we just asked the server to pick something for us. That will be the game plan the next time we go.
To be honest the highlight of the lunch was the hello we got from the spiky haired server from Mekong. Never in a million years would I have thought that he knew us from Adam. The quick hello as he walked passed our table made me feel like I was “in” with the most important of Richmond food celebrities. That was almost better than an invite to the famous Chang’s dinner.