The eating-out crowd has a new attraction at the Inner Harbor. P.F. Chang's China Bistro has opened in the new Lockwood Place building on Pratt Street. It's the first in Baltimore and the third in Maryland, according to the chain's Web site. The other two are in Columbia and Bethesda.
Operating partner David Moss, who's worked at four other East Coast P.F. Chang's, says that those familiar with the restaurant may notice a couple of differences in Baltimore's. He says there have been complaints at others about the noise level, so extra effort was made here to cut down on that. Both ceiling tiles and textured walls were designed to absorb sound. While most P.F. Chang's have open kitchens, Baltimore's does not. Again, to cut down on the noise.
This restaurant is a bit smaller than most; Moss says that makes it feel more intimate. Adding to that warmer feel is the lighting. Instead of the trademark massive disc lights, this P.F. Chang's features hanging lanterns that make the place glow at night.
You will see familiar colors and decor, including a large Chinese mural on one wall. The dining room features hardwood floors, booths and banquette seating around the perimeter. The center of the room is carpeted, and has additional tables. Ross says when weather permits, there also will be an outside patio area that will seat about 40.
Menu-wise, think Chinese with an American accent. Or maybe it's vice versa. The appetizer list includes vegetable spring rolls (two for $3.50, four for $5.50); Peking dumplings with ground pork and vegetables, steamed or fried ($5.50); and calamari tossed with scallions, kosher salt and coarse black pepper ($7).
The entrees are divided into several sections. "Traditions" has moo goo gai pan ($11); shrimp with lobster sauce ($12) and almond-and-cashew chicken ($11). The chicken section has more than a dozen choices, including chicken with black-bean sauce ($11.50) and sweet-and-sour chicken ($12).
In the meat section are about a half-dozen options. There are more than a dozen seafood choices, such as shrimp with candied walnuts tossed in a creamy sauce with honeydew melon ($14); and kung pao scallops or shrimp ($13.50). There are nine noodles, meins and rice options, and several vegetarian dishes.
The dessert menu features banana spring rolls served with coconut-pineapple ice cream and drizzled with caramel and vanilla sauces ($6); the great wall of chocolate: six layers of chocolate cake frosted with semisweet chocolate chips and served with raspberry sauce ($8); and eight crispy, chocolate-creme-filled sticks served with a warm caramel-peanut butter dipping sauce and bits of toffee brittle ($8).
Moss also says the restaurant features a gluten-free menu that has been very popular.
You'll find P.F. Chang's China Bistro, 410-649-2750, at 600 E. Pratt St. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.