Monday, April 25, 2011

Mandarin Chef

I'd read that Mandarin Chef in the U-District had some of the best Chinese Noodles in the city. This was quite a statement, considering the output of Szechuanese Cuisine, Seven Stars Pepper, Szechuan Noodle Bowl, Shanghai Garden, and the Snappy Dragon and I was more than happy to do a little follow up research myself.

We started with some jiao zi, reported by the sassy older waitress to be a specialty. I am happy to report that they do have a vegetarian dumpling option, which our table ordered along side a order of meat. The savory, sharp, spicy dipping sauces and oils, one of my favorite parts of dumplings, were tasty but not especially spicy.

For a main course I ordered Mo Po Tofu (fantastically available in a vegetarian version, or with pork) and a side of stir fried hand shaved noodles. The ma po was great... rich, red and super savory (may have been a bit of MSG involved... I just kicked back and enjoyed it). The noodles though, with all of the emotional culinary buildup, were a bit of a disappointment to me. I've really come to love thick, twisty, chewy noodles, and these seemed to be more on the thin and delicate side. It's hard to come into a restaurant with really high expectations of anything.

I would go back for the MaPo, but might leave the more severe noodle cravings to some of my other noodle faves.

Mandarin Chef on Urbanspoon

No comments: