A quick and easy gastronomic trip to Asia is as simple as visiting Pei Wei at 7135 S. Kingery Road in Willowbrook.
Although I usually don’t recommend chain restaurants, Pei Wei (pronounced pay way) is worth a review. Its menu highlights the cuisine of five countries—China, Japan, Thailand, Korea and Vietnam.
Foodies, I am well aware that this is not "hard core" authentic Asian (go to Chinatown for that), but it’s certainly a nice change from your typical fast food joint.
Pei Wei's ambiance equals that of a higher-end restaurant. The decor is sleek with an open floor plan and modern light fixtures. Once you enter, you’ll immediately see the giant menu screens which showcase a video montage of their dishes.
Many spicy dishes are offered, however, a true lover of heat will not find it very hot. Ask for extra heat when ordering. Keep in mind, this is a more "Americanized" version of Asian food.
Several Asian classics are featured on the like Pad Thai, Sweet & Sour Chicken (or shrimp) and Spring Rolls. If you want to branch out, try the Korean BBQ Beef or the Thai Coconut Curry.
The Thai River Noodles is tender slices of beef tossed in a dark soy sauce with chile paste, egg, broccoli, scallions with chow fun rice noodles. The noodles are thicker and heartier than a glass noodle and have a lot more bite. The vegetables are cooked al dente, which keeps them fresh and bright.
Hugely popular, the Mongolian Beef comes with scallions, garlic and mushrooms and sweet soy sauce. Like many of their dishes, you’ll find an ultra “sweet’ factor in the flavor.
Fountain drinks are self serve and are dispensed from a state-of-the-art machine. The touch screen allows you to select from over 100 drink options. Technically-challenged dustomers may be a bit confused at first, but the kids will love it!
Big thumbs up to Pei Wei for no use of MSG and tofu can be added to any entree for vegetarians.