The Mandarin Grill and Sushi Bar is
This is the same Mandarin that was a fixture in Beaverdale for years. That said, I can’t really say it is the same old Mandarin. The karma must have been favorable because this seems to be a better incarnation. I am not saying that the old Mandarin was bad, either. It was one of my regular lunch stops. I just don’t remember the old place taking food presentation to this level of Asian cuisine sophistication.
Location. The location is in a strip mall, but it is cheek and jowl next to a lot of the popular Clive chain eateries like Biaggi’s and Granite City Brewery, so it is not a bad location. I just hope that some of the people who are willing to stand around and wait for an hour to get a seat at a lot of the chain restaurants in West Des Moines and Clive will give Mandarin a try.
Decor. The decor is professional and upscale without getting into the white table cloths. It is not as fancy as Red, but it is clear that some money was spent to increase the ambiance. Speaking of the ambiance, it is fairly dark inside at night.
Service. The service was absolutely pro. We never wanted for anything, glasses were kept topped off, and the food came at the right time and with the correct dishes. In fact, this is one of the only places that I suspect the entire management, from the wait staff to the head waiter and owner figured out that I was up to something.
Food. Two in our party ordered the standard beef and broccoli ($10) and lemon chicken ($10). The latter was juicy and the batter was tasty without any of that heavy grease feel that sometimes invades frying processes. The veggies were well-prepared, fresh and very flavorful.
I decided to be daring and order some sushi. I tried the Unicorn Roll ($10). I really liked it. It had both tempura shrimp, avocado, and was topped with spicy tuna. I’ve warned my readers before that I am not qualified to render opinions on sushi and I won’t offer an opinion on the sushi roll as sushi, but as a main course, I can say it was one of the better meals I’ve had, especially if you venture away from French and Italian cuisine. Is it the best sushi around? I have no idea and I will never eat enough sushi to be qualified to say. But I do encourage anyone wanting to branch out a bit from the usual Chinese food dishes to try the sushi rolls. A lot of the meats are not, in fact, raw and are properly cooked. The menu tells the diner which sushi dishes feature uncooked meat.
Prices. The prices are very reasonable. We did order Egg Drop Soup ($3), Miso Soup ($2) and Fried Rice ($3) to round out the meals, but with entrees at only $10 for the most part the meals were very reasonable. Another plus is that the Mandarin offers Stella Artois ($4), which is a good option for beer even if it is not a craft beer.
We had a very enjoyable meal at the Mandarin and will certainly add this restaurant to our favorite Asian restaurants. Dinner for three was less than $45.
The Mandarin Grill & Sushi Bar
1250 128th Street
Clive, IA 50325