Mandarin Islamic [San Francisco] - Report
It had been 5.5 years since my last visit to Mandarin Islamic, and I had a nice dinner there tonight.
Here's a report from 2007, by myself and pane. pane was also my dining companion tonight! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411053
Sauteed spinach with garlic - This came out first, and was good. Lots of garlic, not too greasy.
Lamb w/ ground bean sheet - This was a hot dish using bean starch noodles (which are somewhat translucent and slippers) and sauteed lamb. The lamb had a nice spicy flavor, with hints of star anise and cumin, and the dish was topped with bean sprouts and cilantro. I really liked it.
Lamb dumplings - Having had both these and Kingdom of Dumpling/Noodle's versions recently, I can definitely say I prefer the version at Kingdom of Noodle. The ones at Mandarin Islamic are good, but I found the filling a bit bland and a bit dry. No dipping sauce bowls were provided to mix vinegar and chili paste, so I had to pour directly from the bottle.
Seafood Pan Fried Bao - The filling in these bao was fishy indeed, and I liked it okay. But I admit I do prefer pork bao (which are not available here since the restaurant is halal). The wrappers were crispy on the bottom and had a nice medium thickness, so I thought this was a good execution, just not my favorite filling.
The chili sauce on the table was quite disappointing. It looked homemade and like it would be spicy, but it actually tasted a bit old and didn't have much of a kick.
Lots of people were eating hot pot, which seems like a good deal here. Next time I go (which will hopefully be sooner than 5 years), I'm planning to try it.