Earlier this year Shelby and I got an invite to have dinner with Peter Chang and his partner Gen Lee. It was amazing! We were there with one other couple, Sean and Robin Brickell, in addition to Peter's wife Lisa. Course after course was brought out and cooked by a chef Peter trained. Everything we had excited all the senses - it tasted great, it looked wonderful and Gen or Peter would give us the skinny on what we were eating.
In addition to talking about food and business Gen told about his early days in the country working the kitchens of Las Vegas in the 80s. Him and his wife have a house there still and let us know he knows all the secrets to getting around town. He showed us photos of his grandchild and even talked about the big names he met - his favorite being Michael Jackson. He described Jackson as a very kind and generous man. When Peter and his wife found out Shelby's birthday was about a week out, Lisa came out with sweet, sticky buns stuffed with black bean. Very cool!
Of course the big topic of the evening was the new restaurant they were opening in town. They wanted to lets us try some of the new menu items they were putting together for a spot in the Virginia Beach Town Center called Peter Chang Express. Well...new for Hampton Roads at least, the next closest one is in Richmond.
Peter Chang Express isn't going to be in the middle of the fairly new Town Center but off the boulevard between Kellam Rd and Horace Ave. You can actually see the new Peter Chang Express from my mother's barbershop (Town Center Barber Shop) at 304 Horace Ave! So if you need a haircut after lunch head over and see Mom.
If you aren't familar with Peter Chang, this sums it up: He has been called the best when it comes to Sichuan cooking in America. He has even cooked for the president of China at one point in his career.
We've been to Peter Chang Bistro in Virginia Beach and the food is phenomenal! It's unlike the Chinese-American food you're used to getting from the similarly named restaurants who seem to be serving from the same menu. His food is spicy, fresh, and presented uniquely. Whole fish dressed and sliced, majestically carried to the table with the respect it deserves. Bamboo fish in a bamboo net is pretty neat too. The scallion bubble bread is brought to the table hot and it looks like a balloon of chewy goodness - pull it apart and eat it hot!
The difference between Peter Chang's bigger restaurant in town and Peter Chang Express is that Express will be serving small plates at half the price of the regular entree. Service will be fast to accommodate those working in Town Center or for those who wanted a quick bite to eat. Shelby and I have been watching this store, trying to figure out when it was going to open. It was originally supposed to open about May or June but had a few delays. Now is the time though!
Peter Chang Express will
have a grand opening on August 28th with a soft opening a couple days before that open 8 September. We're excited, it's a lot closer to us and our jobs so I can see picking up lunch there now. I wonder if it will affect Judy's down the street?
View the photos of our visit and see some of what will be offered at Peter Chang Express and check out this cool tofu soup below!