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Jun 4, 2012 10:41 AM

Mandarin Bistro Newbury Park

We wanted to go again to MB on Memorial Day, but alas it was closed, so we went last night for dinner.

We arrived a few minutes before 6:00pm and had our choice of tables. We like the little off-side room which only had one table occupied so that was great. Last time we went it was Mother’s Day and we had to wait a while for a table and the main part of the place was crowded and noisy.

We ordered the Hot & Sour soup again and it was great as it was last time. We tried two new dishes: Lemon Chicken and Kung Pao Shrimp and had the same sautéed green beans as last time. The Lemon Chicken was good, but it didn’t have enough lemon flavor for us. The chicken was cooked perfectly and it had a nice sauce, but unfortunately the lemon flavor was missing, which if it did it would have been great. It’s funny as we don’t normally order this dish because it’s often overloaded with the lemony sauce and not cooked all the way through. This was a switch!!

Lately we’ve run into a rash of serving errors (on Memorial Day at PF Chang’s they gave our order to newly arrived diners after we had waited for a quite a while) and incorrect dishes. Last night was no exception. We ordered Kung Pao Shrimp (with no onions and add water chestnuts). What we received was 3 flavors Kung Pao. The waiter didn’t bring the dish to the table, so when he came by he noticed that it wasn’t right. He immediately offered to take it back and bring the correct dish, but since it had no onions and lots of water chestnuts we said this would be fine and kept it. It just didn’t have as much shrimp as I would have liked! However, the dish was delicious and we did enjoy it. It had a very nice flavor and, as I said, it had lots of water chestnuts, which we love. I really liked the dish and am anxious to try it with shrimp only. The sautéed green beans were also, as last time, very good.

Overall I still like this place and we will be going back to try other dishes. We do enjoy the fact that it isn’t as crowded as Sesame Inn and we enjoy the more open feel of the restaurant. The tables at Sesame Inn are quite close to each other due to the small size of the room. Also, I like the portion size better at Sesame Inn, so I think if we ever go really early we’ll go to Sesame Inn, but we don’t usually go much before 5:30-6:00pm, and by then it’s too crowded. It’s nice to have these two choices so close to each other.

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  1. Thanks for the nice write-up, Les!
    I am glad that once again you enjoyed Mandarin Bistro. It is still one of our favorites in the Conejo. I am surprised that you did not receive exactly as you ordered. We have specified such things as "low oil" or "leave something out" and always have they met our requests. Do try again!

    Rarely do we order take-out, but we had few options the other night and ordered from Szechuan Place (perhaps it was supposed to be "Palace" but the "a" was dropped?). This Chinese restaurant is in the Vons Center at Kanan and Thousand Oaks, between CVS and the Italian Deli. We ordered only two main dishes (something similar to a crystal shrimp and a moo shu chicken) plus a shrimp tofu soup that was very clean and delicious. I would not judge this place (or "palace") by their carry-out, but I would like to return to try their menu. Can anyone recommend this Chinese restaurant?

    5 Replies
    1. re: liu


      We tried a very small Chinese place that sounds like the one you're asking about. I did a review of it but can't find it now. It was just okay, nothing I'd go out of my way for. Also, the place was super small, which we don't like. It was called Szechuan Palace, I didn't notice the missing "a". It was on Kanan Rd., in the So/West corner of the mall, below Vons.

      While most of the reviews on Yelp were favorible, I can't say I found anything outstanding about it. Certainly not even close to Sesame Inn or Mandarin Bistro. To each his own, I guess.

      1. re: LesThePress

        Thanks for getting back to me on this. I am pretty sure that we are talking about the same place.
        Yes, the reviews are very positive and we liked it, but I will have to actually go there and try it.

        1. re: liu

          I guess we're snobs but when we go out (which is way too often), we are as concerned about the atmosphere as much as the food. We don't like hearing everyone's conversatin (and their hearing ours). Plus we do enjoy quieter dining, and this place is so small you are in earshot of everyone in the place. It's also a casual famiiy place, which increases the noise level significantly.
          I will say I remember the staff being most friendly.

      2. re: liu

        Finally made it here and it's certainly surprisingly good. Chinese menu seems a little shorter than other places in the Conejo Valley. Particularly surprised by the Mango Chicken, first seeing that it was on the Chinese menu, and then that it was so good. I liked their seaweed batter fish better than the last time I had it, which I believe was Tasty Noodle in Hacienda Heights.

        1. re: Chandavkl

          Oh! I am so glad that YOU liked it, Chandavkl, considering the area and the lack of good restaurants in the Conejo. It's a fantastic place to live, but we often drive elsewhere to eat.
          Mandarin Bistro and a few others are good enough.