Finally. There is a
restaurant in Western New York where you can dine-in, affordably, at a quality
Sure there are scores of local Chinese restaurants. Most of
their business is take out or buffet where taff loads up food in wells on steam
tables, cheap, piled high, larded with MSG and for the most part indistinguishable
one from another.
Now we have a local, authentic Asian restaurant where you
can eat Chinese not off a buffet table, or 30 minutes cooled out of a takeout container,
but cooked to order, served fresh, perfectly spiced, fresh from the high
temperature wok [ it’s the high heat that gives food that indescribable,
flavorful edge known as “wok hay.”]
The place is the Mandarin Garden at 1400 Niagara Falls Blvd.
near the Boulevard Mall in the Town of Tonawanda.
You walk in these doors and leave Western New York behind,
transported to a land where attention to exquisite manners, ambience, Feng Shiu,
carefully chosen music, pleasing aromas, colors, lighting, and the culinary art
is expertly combined.
At Mandarin Garden, attention is given to the finest points
of preparation – carefully ground spices, the choicest selection of tender
meats, beyond-fresh fish and vegetables that seem to come out of a green
Whether it is crispy chicken, luxurious shrimp, or twice
cooked pork, whether it is comfort food (think General Tso’s chicken and orange
beef), or distinctly Chinese fiery Sichuan and or Hunan moo shoo pork, a lot of
credit goes to Chef Zhi Liang Guang.
Guang was executive chef for the famous Lee’s Restaurant in
New York City prior to coming to Western New York where Mandarin Garden
Restaurant owner Chao Yue Lee procured his services.
At Mandarin Garden, prices are deliciously low. Combo
lunches run from 5.95. Full dinners are great deals too: Chicken with Broccoli
8.50; Shrimp with Mixed Vegetable 11.95; Hunan Beef 9.50; Mixed Vegetable with
Bean Curd 8.00; Orange Chicken 12.00.
All come with a choice of white or fried rice or brown rice
Mandarin Garden is casual and elegant at the same time. It
offers modern Chinese as well as traditional dishes prepared as they would be
if you were dining in China tonight.
四川回锅肉 Double Cooked Pork 7.95;
Pepper Short Rib in Hot Plate 15.95;
糖醋鱼片 Sweet and Sour Sliced Fish 11.00;
椰子虾豆 Coconut Shrimp 13.95;
尖椒花蛤 Stir-fried Spicy Clam 11.95
Mandarin Garden is a place for business meetings, or special
date, for children and their parents and grandparents – for family is something
highly honored in Chinese culture.
Mostly what sets it apart is the food. At Mandarin Garden
they take time to assemble the finest ingredients and time to prepare it.
“It is all about the cooking time and temperature, “ owner
Chao Yeu Lee said. “A lot of Asian dishes are served at a certain temperature.
Temperature is very important to bring the flavor out. The minute we have it
ready we bring it out and that’s how you experience a meal prepared as it
should be in Chinese tradition.”
Another thing that sets Mandarin Garden apart is its
extensive menu. Mandarin Garden offers Thai, Vietnamese and authentic cuisine from
all parts of China.
Most local restaurants serve mainly Americanized dishes such
as sesame chicken, pepper steak, and General Tso’s chicken [which Mandarin
Garden also serves fresh and tasty] Mandarin Garden also has stir fry pea
shoots, Sichuan style beef, Chong Qing chicken, braised pork, bitter melon with
eggs or shredded pork with garlic sauce.
In addition, sauces are made specially by Chef Guang: Brown
sauce, black bean, Sichuan, Hunan, white sauce. On some meals Guang makes the sauce as he
cooks the meal capturing authentic juices further flavoring the dish.
The Mandarin Garden also has a great selection of noodle
entrees – PHO, Pad Thai, mei fun, udon, chow fun – soups, vegetable plates, and
specialties like fresh spring roll, fried calamari & crab meat Rangoon.
The Mandarin Garden is a 72 seat casual-dining restaurant
focusing on modern and authentic Asian cuisines. The menu demands repeat
visits. Hours of Operation 7 days a week 11 to 10 Sunday through Thursday,
11-11 Friday and Saturday.