Wednesday, October 9, 2013

80 North: Berkeley, Mandarin Garden

Mandarin Garden  2025 Shattuck Ave., downtown, (510) 848-4849.  L T-F+Sun, D Tu-Sun; $$.  Takes reservations.  Divided into three good-sized dining rooms, this old-school Chinese restaurant features wall-to-wall carpeting (for serenity) and a small fish tank filled with big gold fish (for fun).  The menu is divided into two cuisine styles—Mandarin and Szchuan, with a special chef for each.  Specialties include a dramatic boneless Peking duck, cumin lamb (a typical Xinjiang dish), and something called Double Skin (fresh mung bean flat noodles, blanched julienne carrots, cucumber, egg crepe, calamari, shrimp, sea cucumber, onions, mushrooms, and pork tossed with soy sauce vinaigrette and hot Chinese mustard).  Menu favorites include pot stickers (note that these take a long time to prepare), minced chicken lettuce wraps, General Tao’s chicken, and kung pao chicken (a diced, dry-fried, veggie-free version).  Sichuan dishes include spicy peanut noodles and a brilliantly colored spicy garlic eggplant.  Lunch specials are a bargain and include an entree, appetizer, soup, fruit, salad, and steamed rice. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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