Mandarette

Mustardy kick: Vegetable potstickers

Mustardy kick: Vegetable potstickers

Succulent: Bok choy with shiitakes (a/k/a Chinese greens with black mushrooms)

Succulent: Bok choy with shiitakes (a/k/a Chinese greens with black mushrooms)

Shu-in: Vegetable mu shu; pancakes not shown

Shu-in: Vegetable mu shu; pancakes not shown

Just dessert: Green tea and chocolate ice cream

Just dessert: Green tea and chocolate ice cream

Pining for good Chinese food, which is surprisingly scarce in Los Angeles outside the San Gabriel Valley, we made our way to Mandarette Cafe (8386 Beverly Blvd., at Orlando), a stylish but relaxed Beverly Grove restaurant. Tonight we started with one of the specials, a soup billed as a combination of tomato, spinach, and Napa cabbage, though it turned out to be glutinous and sweeter than expected, with tomato the dominant flavor. We were much more pleased with the potstickers, lightly fried and filled with a savory vegetable mash that had a mustardy kick. For our entrées, we ordered Chinese greens sauteed with black mushrooms, pan-fried string beans with fresh garlic, and vegetable mu shu. The “Chinese greens” turned out to be bok choy, a succulent cabbage; the “black mushrooms,” shiitakes. Though the dish was, again, not quite what we expected, it was well done, savory without being too salty. The string beans were quite nice, slightly crispy and not too garlicky in their light brown sauce. But the mu shu was perhaps the tastiest dish of the evening, a mixture of mushrooms, bean sprouts, eggs, and spinach good enough to eat on its own but truly delicious in a pancake wrap. We capped the meal with two excellent scoops of ice cream (chocolate and green tea) plated with a dollop of whipped cream, and a couple of fortune cookies. One of these promised, “You will find treasure in hidden places.” Though Mandarette is not exactly hidden, we will continue to treasure it as our best Chinese option…at least until our fortune changes.

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