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May 1, 2008 06:09 AM

Good Local Chinese or PF Changs?

I am not a fan of chains as I think most hounds aren't. Since moving out here a few years ago, we managed to sniff out good eats and have our list of goto and take out places. Can't seem to find any good Chinese. We tried Sultan Wok a few times. Mediocre at best and I am very put off by the fact they serve Sushi. Chinese and Sushi don't mix. Do one or the other and do it well, not both at a sub-par level. We tried Mom's Kitchen on 516, another mediocre establishment. I've noticed Hunan on 9 South in Manalapan. It looks like a nice Chinese place, but I've never had it so can't really comment and looks can deceive. Can't speak for Sunny Palace for Chinese take out fare but I can give them high marks for there Cart Service Dim Sum on the weekends. As a result we never order Chinese. Chinese take out has been replaced with Thai Thai on 516, not Chinese but great Thai as I have said many times on these boards. My wife went as far as taking a Chinese cooking class to make some dishes at home.

Which brings me to PF Chang's in Freehold. We ordered take out the other day and it was fantastic. I can't believe a chain can actually execute great dishes. We ordered for app's some type of braised rib. Awesome, meat falling off the bone. They were a tad dry but my sense was this was because we did take out and they sat in a bag for 20 minutes. Not dry enough to ruin the dish, they were still great. We had crispy sting beans with a weird but good dipping sauce. Good but this did not travel well, my sense is it would have been great if we dined in. I had the Dali chicken which was chicken and potatoes on a spicy sauce with chili's. Fantastic. Kids had pork low mein. So flavorful and knocks the socks off of any take out palace in the area My wife had shrimp in lobster sauce. People always rave about this in my circles but to me it was never anything great.........until the other night. This was hands down the best I've ever had. I never saw what was so great about this dish in the past. It was really good. The only thing PF Chang's lacks is the traditional style egg roll

To sum it up. To me, Good Local Chinese take out does not exist. The only good local Chinese far I've found is Sunny Palaces dim sum. PF Chang will be our goto for Chinese take out. Never ever did I think I would rave about a chain.

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  1. There is this Chinese take out in Freehold that is pretty good. It's owned by 2 brothers and they usually can cook up what you want aside from their regular menu. You just have to ask him what stuff they got. Like vegetables, fish, meat, etc. The place is call Mei's. It's in the same strip mall as Dusal's across from Wal-Mart. The 2 brothers are pretty nice people and have been around for quite a while.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wench31

      I went to Mei's once when I first moved to Freehold and it was pretty bad. Doesn't make a difference any longer as I believe they are now out of business. There's a sign indicating that a middle eastern restaurant is on the way.

      1. re: jsfein

        I know! I am so BUMMED! I know that their cooking was inconsistent. But the owners were nice and they cooked what we ask of them that wasn't on the menu. It's potluck over there. They can cook a certain dish real well one day and botch it up the next time around. I heard that business wasn't doing well and they decided to close up. Maybe I'll ck out King's Restaurant on Rte 9 next.

        1. re: wench31

          My husband and I tried King's once and won't go back. Peking Pavillion is very popular, but we like Sunny Palace the best for dinning-in experience (try the honey chicken!). If you're looking for a whole in the wall take out, we like Island Taste at the intersections of rt 79 and 520 in Marlboro.

    2. I really really like this dish at Hunan on Route 9..Grand Marinier Shrimp..soo good! Peking Pavillion is pretty good, too..located on 33 in Manalapan.

      I like P.F. Changs, too. It does not seem as greasy as all the other "local" Chinese places.

      The only reason I don't eat Chinese too often is because of all that SALT! I need a gallon of water a couple hours later after I eat it! Also, the food sticks to my hips, and NOT in a good "Jennifer Lopez" type way. :)

      1. I just wish that WestLake Seafood would deliver to Freehold as it is a minor pain to head up Rt 34 to get there, but they are the best.

        1 Reply
        1. re: seal

          We went to Westlake and it was dirty looking. Carpet not clean, etc. it turned us off and we never went back. Great place in Little Silver called Little Sezuchan. Seasonal dishes are delicious. Try the jumbo shrimp with scallion and ginger. They have brown rice too for all you hippies.

        2. I recently read that P.F. Changs is the most unheathly of the major restaurant chains.

          1 Reply
          1. re: shoeman

            Not quite. You can actually gather nutritional information from the menu on their website and figure out what to eat before hand if you are on a diet.

            Here is the article on healthy and unhealthy restaurants. PF Changs is number 4 on the HEALTHY restaurants list.

            I actually really like PF Changs. Just make a reservation first and be sure you bring the reservation number with you.

          2. I suggest you try Sunny Palace on Rt 18 in East Brunswick. It is excellent, with food that is almost on par with that of the Hunan up in Morris Plains, which for my money is the best in the state.

            Also in East Brunswick in the Mid State Mall, is Golden East, a smaller place with excellent food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jracpa

              Oh please. Not Golden East. The owners are by all appearences, wonderful people, attentive, caring, gracious. but the food is the most insipid offerings that I have ever encountered. The place is a East Brunswick land mark and caters to elderly residents and apparently their offspring, who believe that fried wonton wrappers and duck sauce is actually a chinese first course. I tried so much to like this place because of it's history and loyalty of it's patrons, but it only reinforced my opinion that most of us have no concept of what "Chinese" food should taste like, and in turn settle for such offerings as Golden East, Sunny Palace, and now PF Changs.