New Mandarin quick-lunch

mandarin.jpgHaving come under new management fairly recently, this dining spot offers generous lunch portions complete with egg roll, choice of two soups, and either steamed or fried rice. Every lunch special includes these sides, and several are under five dollars.The small egg roll seemed to contain cabbage pretty much by itself, but it was light and delicate. We saw many taking half the generous entree portions home for later consumption. The New Mandarin Restaurant in Twin Oaks at Oltorf also brings the food to those within the delivery area (Monday through Friday, 4:30 to 10 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 am to 3 pm and 4 pm to 10 pm; 445-2225 for information). New Mandarin is to be found on line at the URL, which is fairly sketchy except for a somewhat viewable menu. Miniature menus may be picked up just inside the door, where the takeout desk was busy. Today there were three specials on the board. The most popular regular item at other tables was beef with broccoli. I was happy with pork in garlic sauce. Water chestnuts prevailed over pork, but the meat was beautifully trimmed and all was redolent of ginger. The other main course at the table was moo goo gai pan, said to be good and garnished with snow peas. The iced tea arrived in the biggest pebbly plastic glasses made. Majic 95.5 played softly over the speakers and did not compete with all the conversation. Beer signs light the walls adorned with fans. Pagodas, fish, and flowers are among the motifs of prints under the glass tabletops. The attentive staff was young and at least one member was capable of speaking Spanish to those diners to whom this was helpful. The restrooms were clean. The tables today seated parties of two, three, and four, in all combinations: solitary skilled tradespeople discreetly making and taking cellphone calls, same-gender, mixed gender, co-workers, parent-child, neighborhood retirees, and government and bank employees judging by wardrobe. This was generous and prompt lunchtime food and a good value. Suppertime may bring out an entirely different, less workaday menu. Whether that’s so must wait to be discovered on another visit.

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