Q by Peter Chang Addresses Service Snags Over Busy Opening Weekend

Restaurant served hundreds of diners during Saturday’s opening


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The interior of Q by Peter Chang

Joe Zimmermann

Q by Peter Chang faced big crowds when it opened last weekend as the highly anticipated newest addition to the downtown Bethesda restaurant scene.

A total of 355 diners attended the restaurant on Saturday’s opening day, spokeswoman Sammi Li said Wednesday, and similar numbers came Sunday.

While many diners were pleased with the food, some thought service was lacking as the staff adjusted to the large crowd, according to online reviews.

“For us, it was very challenging because our servers and our team is still in training and for them to take such a big load is a little bit stressful for us, but we survived and we are getting better,” Li said.

Q by Peter Chang is still in its soft opening and plans to continue training staff and improving service, Li said. Its official grand opening is June 2.

The restaurant serves the spicy Szechuan-style cooking of eponymous chef Peter Chang, who has an esteemed reputation and operates several restaurants in the Maryland-Virginia area. Q is his flagship.

Reviewers on Yelp praise the food, but complained about waits at the restaurant and claimed the portions were small for a high price.

“By quality and taste measures, it's the best Chinese food in Bethesda. If you go, just expect to pay more than you may be used to,” Tomoko M. from Chevy Chase wrote. David B. from Bethesda wrote the food was “overpriced” and “portions were so small.”

Li said the restaurant is still testing out how clients feel about menu items, including portions and price, during the soft opening period and may make some adjustments.

However, she also noted that there’s a reason for the higher costs.

“Definitely we are not Peter Chang, we are Q by Peter Chang,” she said. “So it won’t be the same portions for sure as [at] the Rockville or Arlington locations, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense that we opened the exact same restaurant.”

Li said the menu items are different at Q, and are made with better and more expensive ingredients. Chang is also cooking at the Bethesda restaurant.

“We’ve gotten no complaints about the flavor, and for us it’s a relief. You know we’re a restaurant bottom line—we have to provide tasty food, quality food,” Li said.

The restaurant is offering its first dim sum brunch this weekend. It expects to open its patio section in the upcoming weeks, Li said, and plans takeout and delivery service to be ready after the grand opening.

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