By Karen Talbot
O Mandarin Restaurant
361 N. Central Avenue
Oct. 4, 2017: Celebrity Chef Chou, specializing in Central Chinese regional cooking, is one of the top culinary judges and one of the most influential celebrity chefs in many competitions on Chinese TV.
O Mandarin is proud to have him celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival at its restaurant this week. On Sunday evening, I had the pleasure of sampling dim sum, cold appetizers, and entrées from his special tasting menu.
Dim Sum: My husband and I shared the princess dumplings--little pillows filled with pork in a delicious clear broth.
Appetizers: Our cold appetizers were cucumber skin with smoked chili and wild mushroom and bean curd. The cucumber skin was a beautiful presentation of shaved cucumbers bathed in a brown sauce with spicy peppers, crispy soybeans, and special spices from China. The wild mushroom and bean curd was a unique taste treat in itself.
Entrées: Emperor's hu-lu chicken, which dates back to 800 AD from the Tang Dynasty, was served to the emperor and famous officials and is still served today. This spectacular entrée of chicken marinated for twenty-four hours and rubbed with special spices is steamed in broth and then fried. The frog's legs in a stone clay pot were served with a mixture of vegetables and exotic spices. We sprinkled spicy salt on top for a wonderful taste sensation. The crispy eggplant with garlic sour sauce was beautifully presented in a fan shape on a raised platter, unlike anything I have ever tasted before. Chengdu fried rice with bean sprouts, scallions, and egg accompanied our entrées.
Dessert consisted of bubble treasure cake, a lovely concoction of cake on the bottom surrounded with a bubble of flaky pastry.
The special tasting menu had fifteen items to choose from in the three categories and was priced very well. Each day, the food offerings change, with some items removed and others added to the menu. You can order from both the regular menu and the special tasting menu.
Reservations are encouraged; the phone number is 914-437-9168.
Pictured here (from top down): Karen Talbot; cucumber skin appetizer; crispy eggplant with garlic sour sauce.
Photos of food by Karen Talbot