Located at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and N. Orlando Ave, Mandarette Chinese Café has been serving up delicious traditional Chinese cuisine with a modern twist for the past 35 years. For their anniversary, the West Hollywood mainstay, just down the street from the Beverly Center, has announced four new fall menu items. Owner Ken Yang’s culinary journey started from a little town just north of Taipei, where his father started his traditional training in the kitchen at the young age of 13, and that expertise is highlighted in all the dishes here.
Mandarette Chinese Café has remained a local favorite for gatherings for all occasions in the Beverly Grove neighborhood. The unassuming corner façade opens into a large dining space with simple décor and furnishings, allowing Chef Yang’s cooking, with both traditional and innovative dishes, do the impressing, whether you are a new customer or old. The four new fall menu items that mark the occasion are traditional delicacies that he has introduced, and each holds its own on the long list of menu items.
Among the new additions is a Braised Beef Noodle Soup, which is the symbolic Chinese comfort food. Found throughout China and Taiwan, the beef is slow-cooked to perfection and the broth is rich with Chinese herbs and spices. One big bowl of this delicacy will last you long – a hearty meal anytime and especially for fall/winter. Perfectly spiced, the beef is tender to the touch and though chunky, goes well with the softness of the noodles. No complaints with this preparation!
Another dish is the Sichuan Poached Fish Fillet, which originated from the Sichuan cuisine. Their approach is to make the fish fillet from fresh sole and cook it with Sichuan numbing pepper, chilly pod, vegetable oil, minced garlic and other spices. It offers a good combination of tender white meat fish, crispness of the bean sprouts, hot spicy flavor of chili pepper, and a touch of numbing sensation of Sichuan pepper.
The other two dishes include Three Cup Chicken, Beef, Or Squid, a classic Taiwanese dish made of three ingredients; sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine cooked in the sauce until tender before the sauce is reduced to a glaze that coats the meat for the three cup. And the Aromatic Fiery Shrimp, a traditional Sichuan style spicy crispy shrimp stir fried with chili pod, Sichuan pepper, minced garlic, sliced ginger and scallion over sesame oil. Of course, the classics are also available including Won Ton Soup, Kung Pao Shrimp and Lemon Chicken.
But then be surprised by their Crispy Strawberry Shrimp Mandarette Chinese Café Special - quick-fried shrimp served with strawberries in a sweet and spicy sauce or the Lobster Noodle Mandarette Chinese Café Special for lobster tail drenched in garlic sauce and served on a bed of egg noodles. Their house-made ginger ale will also win your over. Any food restrictions and diets are respected here so whether you are looking for vegetarian, vegan, omnivore or gluten free choices, Mandarette Chinese Café has you cared for.
My recommendations for starters include the duck roll and the soft tofu with preserved egg and green onions. Both were well flavored and had completely contrasting textures to begin the meal. Portions are shareable for a party of two. And for a sweet ending, the chocolate wantons and green tea ice cream are perfect. The wantons actually were a big surprise - where I expected them to be pretty heavy and overly filled with chocolate, these were crispy and light, and just the right bite-sized portion for something sweet to end the meal with but not too overpowering to take away the flavors of everything enjoyed prior.
Mandarette Chinese Café is located at 8386 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048. Call (323) 655-6115 for reservations or visit them online on mandarettecafe.com. There is plenty of street parking available in the area and the restaurant space can easily seat groups large and small. Insider tip: Ask for Davy who will regale you with stories of the dishes’ origins and how they are prepared. If you’ve visited here before, would love to hear your recommendations in the comments below of what I should try there the next time I visit.
*This media tasting was by invitation of restaurant for purposes of review. All opinions and photos are my own.*