Two of us went to New Mandarin Garden today, we've been meaning to try it since it's close to home. They offer an all you can eat buffet Mon. thru Fri. for $5.95/person. We figured that for that price, we'd give it a try :)
Unfortunately we weren't all too impressed with the food. The offerings included a hot & sour soup, egg rolls, fried won tons, fried/steamed rice, chow mein noodles, almond chicken, steamed vegetables, curry beef, sweet and sour pork and crispy chicken. There were some orange slices for dessert.
Soup - more sour than hot, I'm not a big fan of this kind of soup anyhow. My dining partner does like this soup normally, but found it lacking in spices with the sour overwhelming it. He gave it a C.
Egg Rolls - Honestly, these were probably my favorite part of the meal. A little on the oily side, but fresh fried and tasty - offered with a sticky sweet orange sauce (I suspect the same sauce they used on the sweet and sour pork). We give these an A-.
Fried Won Ton - Ok, crispy fried, just nothing special - no filling, just the fried wrapper. B-
We didn't try the steamed rice, the fried rice was fine, the chow mein noodles were ok, but a little dry (probably out too long).
Almond Chicken - sort of tasteless overall I thought, a good amount of chicken in it, but no flavoring/spice. I wouldn't order this off the menu, if it's the same as the buffet version. C-
Steamed Vegetables - these were fresh and a nice mix of carrot, zucchini, broccoli and other items. Nothing special though. B
Curried Beef - Wasn't very curried, very bland. D
Sweet and Sour Pork - good size pieces of pork and some veggies in this. Probably the best of the main dishes offered. My complaint was that it was a lot on the sticky/sweet side. The coating, which IMO, should have been crunchy, was doughy - probably from sitting too long covered in the thick sauce. B-
Crispy Chicken - Extremely salty, large pieces of roasted? chicken. The chicken was flavorful but a little dry (not too bad). C+
We didn't have any orange slices - when I went to get some, I saw a lot of black/rotted spots on the rinds, so I passed.
Overall, we were not impressed by the buffet. We'll probably give it another shot in the future, but ordering specific dishes off the menu.
Good eating all!
New Mandarin Garden
744 El Camino Real
S San Francisco, CA 94080-4405
Phone: (650) 225-0683