Omnivore - Mob scene at Peter Chang's

Get a reservation

We visited Peter Chang's eponymous new restaurant Saturday night. Great food, of course, but the place was packed with entire tables of people looking around for a server. Meanwhile, the servers streaked hither-thither, breaking into a run now and then.

Let me give you an important warning. Get a reservation. I called a few days before and was told the restaurant was not taking reservations. Ditto for the couple in front of us and a large party behind us in the line waiting to be seated.

The hostess was way overworked, although I couldn't really figure out why she ran off to the dining room every now and then. When we got to the front of the line, she asked us if we had a reservation. I said we'd been advised that no reservation was necessary. She insisted that wasn't true and asked us to come back another time. Ultimately she let us eat at the bar.

We probably got much quicker service by sitting there. It's not really a bar for drinking. It's more like a central hub for collecting payment.

We ordered lamb chops, a fish dish and a couple of starters whose generous portions nearly killed our appetites. One negative observation: way too much cumin. The lamb and the fish were both heavy with it. There was no indication on the menu that the fish was seasoned with cumin, so our overdose was accidental.

Best dish we tried: pork belly pieces fried like chicharrones, placed over a bed of hot chilies and scallions.

I'll have more to say in "Grazing" later this week.