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“Don't let the appearance fool you.”
Review of Mandarin Gate

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Mandarin Gate
Ranked #3,087 of 4,231 Restaurants in Seattle
Cuisines: Chinese
Restaurant details
Reviewed February 7, 2012

It's been several years since our last visit, perhaps as much as 4-5 years. Having an entertainment card in hand, and my son dropping by with a hankering for Chinese, we decided to re-visit what once was one of our favorite places. Time has taken its toll.

We decided to eat lightly, leaving room for Super Bowl Sunday following. We started with the Chicken Sizzling Rice soup, which was flavorful, with large pieces of chicken, and abundance of other ingredients in a broth that was far too salty.
And I like salt. But not THAT much.

My son ordered his favorite, Mongolian Beef, while I ordered the Almond Fried Chicken, nothing adventurous, but we've ordered them before, and they would be a good measure of our past experiences. We were in for a surprise.

The server cautioned us that they make their Mongolian Beef on the spicier than usual side, which was fine by us. Surprise! Not spice at all. The beef arrived in a watery thin, flavorless, spiceless liquid. I wouldn't even call it a "sauce." Very little beef.

The Almond Fried Chicken was an even bigger disappointment. What arrived was basically a factory manufactured slab of generically breaded chicken (such as you might find at a warehouse club) sprinkled with crushed peanuts and served with a side bowl of a bland white gravy. No "real" chicken pieces, no "Chinese style" breading, and a bland gravy.

I also ordered tea when the menus came out, but it was almost 3/4 of the way thru the meal before the tea finally arrived - not with a tea cup, but a coffee mug. And after I was finally able to ahil the attention of a second server to ask for the tea.

It's not the same place we remembered.

The restaurant itself is tidy and neat from front door to our table. We did not check out the restrooms or bar. Friendly and prompt welcome, but the looks and greeting gave false premise to the meal that followed.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank kagey3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 9 of 9 reviews

Reviewed March 1, 2007

The Mandarin Gate looks like another typical strip mall Chinese restaurant. Well it is but only if you don't look close enough.

The menu has the usual assortment of dishes covering seafood, noodles, chicken, beef, pork, rice, soups, etc... Nothing there jumps out at you as special.

The atmosphere is nothing special either, but we, meaning my friends and I, keep going back.

One reason we go back is the Fried rice, I like a heavily seasoned fried rice, and the Mandarin Gate's fried rice has got a nice smoky seasoning on top of the soy sauce that is really good. I like the shrimp and BBQ pork versions the best.

Second is the mushu in vegetarian or chicken versions. Simply done, but well flavored.

Third, Peppercorn fish is great, a salty peppery deep fried nugget of white fish that just has lots of flavor.

Fourth, the pan fried noodle are again nicely but heavily seasoned. Just ask them to use less oil when making these, otherwise, they are a bit too greasy. They are happy to oblige these requests.

Fifth, the bar. Look closely at the bar and you will notice the choice of good quality liquor is far beyond what you would see in most any bar. A very good selection of Scotch, a moderately good selection of bourbons, vodkas, and tequila grace the bar. And the drinks are very generous, as they are in most Strip Mall Chinese restaurants. Frank, one of the bartenders, makes a very good martini, or one of the hard to find scotch whiskies as a special treat.

There is karaoke every night. Whether this appeals to you or not is a matter of personal taste. Many people come in to get a bite of dinner before going to the Oak Tree Cinema next door and often times just skip the movie to hang around and experience some of the worst and funniest singers, as well as some very good singers while indulging in the above mentioned large drinks.

Knocks against the place, the restrooms need more attention, the bar crowd can get a little packed on weekends. Coming here during the week is the best option to avoid overcrowding.

Overall, if you are looking for good to very good food, turned out quickly, with reasonable service, the Mandarin Gate will serve the purpose just fine.

Pick from the specialties, it's hard to go wrong with those. Eat dinner, then hang out in the bar, and have an extra beverage. In short, you will not have the best meal of your life, but you will go home satisfied with the meal and have had a few laughs too.

3  Thank Dogguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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