Fresh & Innovative California Chinese at Mandarette Café

Mandarette Café – the longtime Chinese restaurant on Beverly Blvd near the Beverly Center – celebrated their 35th anniversary open recently so we decided it was high time to get back to the West Hollywood mainstay to see if their famous strawberry shrimp is as delicious as I remember it, to taste some of Chef Yang’s newest savory dishes for the fall, and to have a soju and ginger cocktail or two.

Owner and chef Ken Yang told us, “My customers know exactly what they will be getting and they have been coming back for more for the last 35 years. They are locals, people driving by, walking by, and tourists all hearing the praises about the great Chinese delicacies that Mandarette Chinese Café claims its own.”

What sets Mandarette apart from other Chinese restaurants in the area is their focus on hyper fresh ingredients and natural local seafood. They have all the staples you have come to expect from a Chinese restaurant but all are served up with a twist. And yes, sometimes quite literally with a sprinkle of lemon or a peel of orange – a rarity for Chinese food. Let’s call the cuisine what it is: California Chinese. Could it be possible we’ve coined that term? It’s Chinese with an edge. Of course, there are numerous Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles, but Mandarette distinguishes itself as modern eclectic Chinese food, that is always delectable and also fresh and healthy. When you bite down on the asparagus or the other vegetables in each dish one can tell it tastes as if it’s just come from the garden.

We started with the Mu Shu Crepes with vegetables and pork. The Mu Shu Crepes were large and seemingly inspired by the Southern Californian staple: the burrito. With spinach, soft scrambled egg, and prime lean pork, the Mu Shu Crepes were a perfect appetizer after a long work day. This is the kind of dish that would also be great for a lunch order on the go, something one could eat every day.

Next up we shared the Coconut Jumbo Prawns which were covered in fresh vegetables like green and red peppers. The dish was served with a lemon wedge. What sets Mandarette apart and above the standard Chinese fare is their stress on acids to elevate the flavors of each dish.

For our entrees we were served the Chicken with Asparagus and a sweet but savory black bean sauce. The chicken had just the right amount of char and the black bean sauce added a delicate balance.

Typically I am a fried rice fan but West of Fairfax Mandarette’s noodles are basically legendary. We tried the Singapore Rice Noodles with shrimp, Vermicelli, bean sprouts, curry, and scallion. Absolutely delicious and served with a heavy hand so we had plenty of leftovers to look forward to the next day. The thin noodles and the bean sprouts created a light as air feel to what is usually considered a heavy dish.

The main event was certainly the Sichuan Poached Fish Fillet with a to die for broth and just the right amount of spice. The dish 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.  It’s a delight for the senses, visual included.

Mandarette has also added three other new items to their menu which we will be sure to try next time we drop in.

Three Cup Chicken, Beef, Or Squid; a classic Taiwanese dish made with three ingredients; sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine. The chicken, beef or squid is cooked in the sauce until tender before the sauce is reduced to a glaze that coats the meat.

Braised Beef Noodle Soup is the symbolic Chinese comfort food. Found all throughout China and Taiwan, Beef is slow-cooked to perfection and the broth is rich with Chinese herbs and spices.  Topped with fresh spinach and scallions, it is the ultimate meal for either lunch or dinner.

Aromatic Fiery Shrimps is a traditional Sichuan style spicy shrimp with Sichuan Pepper and spices.  Crispy shrimp stir fried with chili pod, Sichuan pepper, minced garlic, sliced ginger and scallion over sesame oil. For the shrimp love, it is so appetizing, scrumptious, and flavorful that you will be craving its taste after you have tried it.

Mandarette also serves all the Chinese classics  including Won Ton Soup, Kung Pao Shrimp and Lemon Chicken and, of course, there’s their modern and innovative one-of-a-kind dishes you can’t find anywhere else like the Crispy Strawberry Shrimp Mandarette Chinese Café Special. It’s a quick-fried shrimp served with strawberries in a sweet and spicy sauce. Like many of Mandarette’s cuisine, it’s a dish you’d think wouldn’t work, but it shines.

And one more thing I love about Mandarette is their full bar. We indulged in Mandarette‘s thirst-quenching house-made ginger ale, plus a wonderful soju ginger cocktail Tsingtao or two.

With many delicious vegetarian, vegan, omnivore or gluten free choices, Mandarette Chinese Café has something for every foodie. It’s the perfect spot for a casual and festive lunch or dinner post-Beverly Center shopping. If you’re in the neighborhood you should definitely drop in. You will be so glad you did.

Mandarette Chinese Café
8386 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Friday 11am – 11:30pm
Saturday 12-11:30pm
Sunday 12-10pm
Monday 11am – 10:30pm
Tuesday 11am – 10:30pm
Wednesday 11am – 10:30pm
Thursday 11am – 10:30pm
Mandarette can also be delivered direct to your door via seamless.compostmates.comdoordash.com, and grubhub.com.

Comments RSS You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply