Top Quality Chinese Fare at The Mandarette Café

| September 14, 2012


The Mandarette Café on Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood has an impressive menu, a great location and is highlighted by twenty-three years of serving up delicious Chinese fare to locals and celebrities. Regulars include well known gourmets like Jack Black, Mel Brooks, Jackie Chan, John Voight, James Woods and Frankie Munoz.

I usually prefer to eat my Chinese food in places like Gardena and Lomita, but Mandarette will be my new Chinese point of reference in West Hollywood if only for the superb Hot & Sour Soup. Not over spiced at all, the flavor really sets up the rest of the meal, but be warned; as well as being excellent quality,   the   portions are also quite substantial and surprisingly, delivered at prices very reasonable for the area.

Part of the attraction for the health conscious clientele, is the fact that chef Wu Yang has been at the helm from the day he bought it from Phillip Chiang, who later co-founded P.F.Chang’s. Wu still has the energy and enthusiasm to go out and pick up ingredients and produce every day from his local sources. He learned his trade originally in Taiwan and then worked in Japan. The mixed influence is apparent in his cooking which can be termed light Asian fusion and incorporates very little oil and breading.

His son Ken is a very well-liked restaurant manager who took over from his sister last year, and the whole vibe about the place is one of a very low key and smooth operation. Service is very understated and professional, and the high ceilings make the acoustics just about right even when the restaurant is almost full.

The Mandarette is known for some specialty dishes, some of which I tried and others that will be on my radar in the future. Let’s start with the Strawberry Shrimp that was probably the best dish I tried on the night as it came across as not overwhelmingly sweet, although the Crispy Sesame Shrimp was almost as irresistible. These are decent sized shrimp by the way, not the skimpy style sometimes served at other places.

Black Peppercorn Mandarette House Style Beef with the freshest vegetables imaginable was another winner and items to look for on the nicely compact menu are Hunan Style Fish Steak, Scallion Pancakes and House Fried Rice. The Kung Pao Shrimp is prepared with cashews rather than peanuts, chili peppers, jalapenos and chicken breast. Specials pop up all the time that are pulled from creations by the top Shanghai chefs.

As a sort of afterthought I selected a dessert and was blown away by the Chocolate Wontons that you just have to try.

Simplicity and fresh ingredients seem to be the mantra for Mandarette which is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.