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July 10, 2009

Kids' menus at P. F. Chang's and elsewhere

PX00068_9.JPGI got a press release from P. F. Chang's Chinese Bistro yesterday announcing that the chain has just introduced its first children's menu. It consists of Kid’s Chicken, Kid’s Lo Mein, Kid's Chicken Fried Rice and Baby Buddha’s Feast.

This surprised me. I mean, the one thing about taking children out to a Chinese restaurant is you don't need a kids' menu. You can always find something in your dishes to put on the child's plate, and it's a great way to introduce them to food they would never think of eating at home.

Of course, I realize it's more lucrative for the restaurant if even the toddlers are ordering their own separate dishes, but I wonder how many people will take advantage of it. ...

On the one hand, P. F. Chang's chicken fried rice comes without veggies in the kids' version. Any parent knows a little chicken fried rice might be just the place to slip in a carrot or two. On the other hand, the Baby Buddha's Feast consists of snap peas, carrots and broccoli served steamed or stir-fried.

I'd like to know how many of those they sell.

I don't mean to pick on P. F. Chang's. Anything that keeps other people's children happy in a restaurant is fine with me. Children's menus are tricky. They usually offer dishes that kids will eat, i.e., a grilled cheese and chicken fingers serve with fries and nothing else, even if the restaurant would like to be healthier and more creative.

I'm sure there are restaurants around here that have healthier dishes on their kids' menus, but I've never noticed them and I can't guess what they would be.

(Kenneth K. Lam/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 6:56 AM | | Comments (6)


That is great news for my family, currently the only thing my daughter will eat is rice at P.F. Chang's. The only thing she will eat at any Asian restaurant is either Satay or rice.

My husband and I are both fans of PF Changs. However at our last visit we were disappointed by a sloppy kitchen. Our kids love their sweet chicken nuggets (not sure now what it's called - honey something or other) so we ordered them that, specifically mentioning that it needed to be chicken versus shrimp (honey something or other was available as either) since both kids were allergic to shrimp. The plate came out, I looked it over and since all the nuggets somehow looked uniformly round, signed off on it and gave the kids their portions. Well, we get to the bottom of the supposedly chicken dish and found shrimp. Not good. We dosed both kids up with Benadryl and informed the manager. He was very kind and apologized, and he also told us our meal was on the house, but we have not dared to set foot in PF Changs again.

Maybe they should offer a PBJ with a side of fortune cookies on their menu.

I tend bar at P F Changs and the kids menu has only been used so we can add smaller portions of fried rice to meals that do not come with fried rice, other than that it does not sell so far. baby budda's feast is a vegitarian dish, or what I like to call, child abuse.

Don't make me laugh this early in the morning. EL

The only thing that bothers me about Overlea Diner's kids menu is that EVERYthing comes with a side of fries, including a fried egg & toast and spaghetti. Since when do an egg or spaghetti need fries? Sheesh!

Dottie, if they are good fries, they should come with everything, including onion rings.

Just got home from eating at PF Changs and yes my four year old had the kids meal with the chicken fried rice... it was only a little more expensive than just ordering him a soda alone... and not having to listen to him whine about what was in it made it the best deal!!!! Great food... great service and at $2.95 for a kids meal a bargain... even though he usually shares off of my plate when we eat chinese it was really a well spent $2.95!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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