I’m Sort of a Fan-daloun of Redwood City’s Mandaloun
Pretty space with faux explosed stone walls, but the noise!
The boyfriend and I shared two small plates ($7 each) and a pizza($14). The chicken in filo dough was good, but the harissa/tomato chutney brought it to new heights of flavor. Our favorite dish of all was the chicken skewers. They were grilled in a super flavorful marinade.
The margherita pizza was topped with fresh mozzarella. That always sounds good in theory, but what you end up with is spotty cheese coverage which means some bites of all cheese and some bites of all sauce. The sauce could have been zingier. Also, there was too much tomato juice (from the tomatoes) on the pizza in places. The basil tasted super fresh and flavorful.
I'd definitely go back, but the prices would slow me down a little.
2021 Broadway, Redwood City
Friday & Saturday 11:30am-11:00pm ,
and Sunday 4:00pm-9:00pm
Previous post on Mandaloun:
You know, I've been meaning to post my experience(s) at Mandaloun but I've been procrastinating and partly because I was thinking I'm too much of a nit-picker. I was going to head my post: "I Want to Love Mandaloun but...."
Here's my (our) latest experience: A week or so ago I met 3 friends for a "girls night out" dinner, we had a 6:30 reservation. We were greeted by the hostess and seated in the front patio (it was a very warm evening). Menus arrived and we started looking things over: I had noticed a diner seated right next to the little wrought-iron fence across the front: his plate had a square of what looked like pork belly, always a good thing to me so when I found a special for the day that included this along with Berkshire pork loin, spaetzle in a mustard sauce and grilled peaches I had to order it. My dining companions ordered the Margarita pizza, the chicken skewers, prosciutto & melon balls, polenta with marinara and phyllo rolls (can't remember the filling).
Very good waiter took our drink order: I had a flute of a lovely Loire brut rose, nicely chilled and a hefty pour (he told me that it was a larger pour than usual because it was the end of the bottle...) Very yummy.
I was a little concerned about how service would go as I was the only one who ordered an entree: nice waiter said he would bring everything out at the same time.
So far, so good. Here's where I get nit-picky: My plate looked nice but... the pork loin, which was cut into inch-thick slices and cooked to a light pink, was not that easy to cut so I asked for a steak knife. Nice waiter said he thought it was tender enough but he brought me the knife anyway. As I started to cut into it I realized that the string used to tie the boned loin had not been removed - not just one piece, but four. I'm just a home cook but I know enough to remove the strings before I serve something that has been boned and tied! The pork was also rather flavorless even though it had a coating of fresh herbs on the outside...
Next came the pork belly: only one of my most favorite things pork-wise. It had been seared dark brown on the skin side but when I cut into it, rather than having that lovely braised look, the meat portion was on the hard side with the fat side being about 3/4 of the thickness. It was difficult to cut, even with the industrial sized steak knife. Again, not much flavor and much too much fat, even for me, a fat lover. I've eaten pork belly done this way quite a few times in different cuisines and the fat, when cooked properly becomes just a delicious thing: in this case it was just fat...
The "grilled" peaches were 4 slices of fresh peach that showed no visible features of having been grilled. Ok, they were juicy pieces of fresh peach: just not grilled in my sense of that word.
Underneath the pork there was about 1/3 cup of spaetzle with a bit of a mustardy sauce which was all that gave the pork any flavor.
I was not thrilled with the dish - I believe it was $23.95
On the plus side: we had ordered the churros with the espresso chocolate dipping sauce previously so this time we got 2 orders! I don't think it was as good as it was a couple of months ago but it was still good and we made short work of it!
Again, I want to love Mandaloun: it is one of the most attractive places in downtown Redwood City. If you're lucky enough to be seated out in the front patio, the noise level is bearable (or I just didn't notice it because the 4 of us were talking nonstop). The main dining room does get quite noisy: too many hard surfaces and a full bar...
I know we'll be back: I'd stick with the starters - they seem to be the most successful preps to me. One caveat: I haven't tasted the pizza but it didn't look great to me and the person who ordered it didn't finish it and didn't take it for later...