Pei Wei Asian Diner is a newer concept from the P.F. Chang's folks that is popping up like weeds (or Starbucks) all across the United States. This is basically a Pan-Asian noodle shop with counter service that makes for a decent power lunch option.
There are a number of vegetarian options marked by the lovely hippie leaf logo on the menu, making the items easy to spot by vegetarians who are incapable of reading (although, come to think of it, illiterate vegetarians wouldn't be able to read the text at the bottom of the menu explaining the veggie symbol's meaning. It is a useful gesture for saving my time, nonetheless.).
The spring rolls were good if uninspiring. The noodle and rice dishes are fairly big portions, and none of the dishes cost more than $9. I tried the blazing noodles, a chow fun noodle dish (a fettuccine-like rice pasta) made with tomato black pepper sauce, broccoli, carrots, scallions, pea pods and cilantro with tofu. The sauce was flavorful and medium spicy, but I definitely would have liked the five inch broccoli stalks and the tofu slabs to have been cut more finely while I was eating with chop sticks. I do possess mad chop stick skillz, but the pieces were so large that I ended up eating in installments off of the sticks or taking down a whole piece in one ridiculous bite.
Then again, it was all made up for by my fascination with people who can't eat with chop sticks. I love watching people labor with the Asian cutlery, and I love it even more when they tap out and have to ask for silverware. In retrospect, maybe they figured something out with these four-inch tofu blocks and broccoli trunks that I hadn't. Maybe I'm really the dummy.
Regardless of my personal shortcomings, Pei Wei is fairly priced and should be attractive to those with a limited amount of time for lunch that want to eat vegetables for lunch and not deep fried animal goop from Kentuckyfriedbellkingmcdonalds. It is a decent option that isn't nearly as quality control driven as some of the swankier Asian bistros, but probably is economic enough to churn out a consistent business all the same. Check out the pictures below.