I met a friend for lunch the other day at Mandarin House in Carmel. It’s so weird because I have never actually even noticed this place before. And I have been in and out of the City BBQ a couple doors down several times. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere of the place and the welcoming greeting I got.
It’s a pretty standard Chinese restaurant menu, and you can get a decent deal for lunch (most are around $7 and come with soup and two crab Rangoon). I got my usual first dish at any Chinese restaurant, garlic chicken ($6.95). It was curious that there was a garlic pork on the menu listed as hot and spicy, but garlic chicken was not. Anyway, I was impressed with the depth of flavor in this dish. It was a welcome surprise. The sauce was rich and salty and had a ton of garlic in it. The veggie mix had mostly water chestnuts and then a few mushrooms, which were my favorite part. They serve it with lightly seasoned rice and the crab Rangoon. I didn’t love the crab Rangoon, they were a little soft and doughy. I also chose the hot and sour soup. It was a decent version—certainly not the best or worst I had had. Good flavor and some nice pieces of tofu, my favorite part. They also give you those crunchy fried wontons with your soup, and let’s face it, those make any soup better.
My friend had the house beef ($7.25), which was listed as hot and spicy, but wasn’t particularly spicy in my mind. I don’t love beef in Chinese restaurants typically because the beef is always cut small, gets cooked well done, and I usually find it a little chewy. This one was no exception. It couldn’t compare to my chicken in my opinion. Seriously, I was pretty impressed with that garlic chicken sauce. I would certainly order it again.
Their dinner menu is much more extensive, I would be curious to hear what items people think are good. And while it was all pretty straightforward, I would be interested to try some of these other dishes. Let me know if you have favorites.
1370 S. Rangeline Road
Carmel, IN 46032