If it weren’t for Rachelleb‘s recent entry on chain restaurants she likes or wants to try, I wouldn’t have known that P.F. Chang’s was a chain at all. We don’t have any here in the City, and of course you can imagine how much attention New Yorkers pay to eating habits in the rest of the country … yes, that’s right. None at all.
Pierre and I ate at the Chang’s on San Jacinto in Austin, right across from our hotel. It’s a cushy, comfy place, and the food was excellent. Our waiter looked remarkably like Kevin Spacey and gave us the sort of deferent flat-hand reserved attention that we don’t ever see up here, where your waitperson is either wacky-friendly (“Hi! My name is Heather! Scoot over and let me sit with you for a minute!”), obsequious (“I am Karl. Give me money to be pleasant to you and watch, I will now smile”), or too pretty/ moody/ in the East Village/ hung over to be helpful (“What, are you still here?”). I was so relaxed I actually had a drink with a little umbrella in it.
I’m partial to the Heather style myself – I am hopelessly fond of waitresses and barmaids; it’s a curse – but our Kevin fellow made us feel like actual welcome guests. It makes me dislike our grubby chain fooderies – like T.G.I. Friday’s – all the more. Bah. Humbug. When’s it going to be spring?