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Aug 26, 2006 11:18 AM

New restaurant across from Tria

We passed by yesterday and there was a new restaurant in the space formerly occupied by a bakery and several restaurants just across the street. It looked crowded.

Anyone been?

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  1. Are you talking about Mantra? I was there Thursday night. It was decent, as in we would go back and did not complain about the food. I ordered the Philippino Chicken, Shrimp, and Chorizo Noodles, and my companion ordered the Pork Ribs (in a plum sauce, I believe?). He also ordered an appetizer of shrimp spring rolls. We shared my dish, as it actually came out first (they warn you that dishes are served as they are cooked), and in the end we thought it was the best. It was spicy even by my Korean standards, and I thought I tasted a chili sauce swirled in.

    The ribs were ordered because an acquaintance recommended them just before we walked in, although they we deemed them "just okay". They were served with sweet potato fries, which I normally don't like, but these were soft (not soggy), and not overly salted. Just perfect, by my standards...although I don't know what they're supposed to taste like.

    Neither of us cared for the spring rolls, as they were the kind wrapped in a transparent wrap, and the contents seemed too raw--especially the sprouts, which were so stiff that the whole roll was impossible to bite into. The spring roll also seemed to contain mint, the logic of which I couldn't understand.

    Towards the end of our meal, the chef came around to each table to ask how the meal was. I thought that was a nice touch, and it showed that 1) he cares about what he was doing, and 2) he is still fine-tuning his menu. My companion made a light-hearted comment about what if he said it wasn't great, and the chef said, "you're my boss!". So it sounds like if you had a constructive criticism for him, he would be happy to discuss it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mrsry

      mrsry, those spring rolls sound like the Vietnamese variety which do contain mint... and usually raw carrots, bean sprouts, rice vermicelli, and sometimes shrimp. I believe they are supposed to be crunchy and fresh tasting.

      1. re: urbanfabric

        I know that they should be that way to a certain point...but for instance, the sprouts were in a huge bunch so that it was impossible to bite into them.

    2. If you're referring to Mantra- it's outstanding. The dishes are creative, artistic and tasty. The samarai shiso spiced salmon with edamame and Wolf berries was incredible, as was the panko encrusted nori roll. Each dish seemed to offer a little surprise whether from texture(crusted nori roll on outside with soft, salmon on inside), temperature (the warm cheesecake spring roll with cool berry dressing), or simply the combination of flavors (which were not overdone like some of the Stephen Starr joints). The dishes left you wondering exactly just what ingredients and spices chef Al Perez uses to create such delicious masterpieces. We left feeling satiated, but not stuffed. Service was friendly, and the chef even stopped by the table to see what we thought of the food. And do not miss out on the desserts! The grilled pound cake was to die for. Will definitely be back.