I tried Mandarin based on the recs I heard here. I was there for one purpose and one purpose only: to try the XLB. And, man, I've never been so disappointed.
Too bad, because even though I was skeptical of the claims that it could be "comparable" to DTF, I was hopeful. Really, hopeful. Because it is not entirely impossible that a place could make them as good as DTF. There are plenty of restaurants in SGV that do.
But my hopes were crushed as soon as I saw them brought to my table. The wrapper was already torn, and it had a doughy and sloppy texture.
They tasted like they were steamed from frozen. And of course, there's no soup in there to speak of.
To compare these xiao lung baos to Din Tai Fung's dumplings is to compare a toy fiddle to a Stradivarius.
I have pictures of the sad things...but I doubt any one is interested in seeing them.
To be fair. These dumplings were just as good as the ones I've had an A&J in Irvine.