I live near Mandalay and I think I may move in, especially if they keep the sexy dishes coming! I've passed this place many times, but it's easy to miss, especially if you're not looking for it. I ate here on a Tuesday night with a few girlfriends with a reservation for four. I reservation? Really? On a Tuesday night? Yes. There were plenty of patrons enjoying their food, while we still waited about a half an hour for a table to empty out. Apparently, this was an off night, as there usually is not a long wait. Oh well. I'll overlook it. It gave me a chance to observe the almost cheesy ambiance.
Walking in, you will see an elaborate altar set up with fresh fruit and a neon palm tree...classic! In the dining room, ornaments hang from the ceiling while random bouquets of fresh flowers adorn tables. It was quite...homey. Add the warm and friendly service from the what seemed to be a family-driven restaurant, you've got a classic Asian dining experience!
On to the taste buds...Oh, where do I begin? Thank God for my friends Veronica and Kim who ordered for us...I wouldn't have been able to decide, since all the pictures in the menu looked so yummy...funny how there were only pictures for the appetizers and desserts. Speaking of the menu...someone needs to run a spell check...I wasn't too keen on eating a dessert "Springkled with puppy seeds"...Springkled? With Puppy Seeds? Poor puppies...
-Ginger Lemonade: What a refreshing tall glass of goodness streaming down your throat after a long day...
-Tea Leaf Salad: My absolute favorite! It's so pretty when it comes out, with each ingredient displayed together, then mixed together by the server...Tea Leaves, Sesame Seeds, Ground Shrimp, and more...There was an explosion of such healthy flavors...a party in my mouth :)
-Balada: A crispy pancake accompanied by a curry dipping sauce. Can I please have more sauce? Thanks! Honestly, it's one of the best tasting curry sauces I've ever had...not too heavy, but just right. The dish itself is a bit oily, but oh so worth it!
-Mango Salad: It was okay...I definitely think the Tea Leaf Salad was a stage whore in this case!
-Pan Fried Okra and Prawns: Prawns are usually the main attraction when served with veggies, but I definitely think that the okra stole the limelight. I guess I'm used to overcooked okra...Mandalay's pan fried okra is crispy and really highlights the natural taste of it, without being bitter. Yum...
-Mango Chicken: I love mango chicken, but this was not any different from what I've had before. Still good...just not what I would expect it to be, since everything else was so amazing.
-Mandalay Special Noodle: This dish was pretty good as well, but after devouring everything else that came before it, it kind of took a back seat to our liking...Still interesting how it came out with each ingredient displayed together, then mixed...Just too bad that I didn't enjoy it on my full stomach!
-Dessert: Even if you do not order dessert, they still give you a small complimentary serving of it. They offered us a nice arrangement coconut jello that was cold and hard and a sweet potato...hmm...I'm not sure what it's called...but it was sweet soft and warm. Food Porn in it's truest form... :)
Thank you, girls, for yet another night of yummy food porn...Until next time!