The recent posts about Mandarin Kitchen prompted me to actually try the place yesterday. Contrary to the opinion of a previous poster, I thought the wonton soup was nothing special, it lacked a variety of fresh vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cabbage and whatever else. On the other hand, I would recommend the sliced pork with taro root hot pot. The pork is sliced with the fat left on. The pimply fat is not only meant to be eaten, but is quite tasty. I avoided certain green patches I found in the underside of the fat layer. I don't want to know what THAT was.
The hostess is pleasant enough but the waitstaff is impersonal. The staff probably assumed that because I was a lily white naif I would naturally want their buffet. How shocked they were. The waiter warned me about the pork fat. His warning didn't work.
The atmosphere is charmless. Don't sit where I did overlooking the wood veneer buffet stand and the dozen or so fish tanks in sore need of cleaning. The bathroom is charmless too. If you have to go real bad, best to wait until you get to Border's at Lyndale and 78th.
I'm sick of the crass illusion of exoticism that the conventional midwestern "Chinese" restaurant feels it has to maintain in order to make a buck. I'm specifically complaining about lunch buffets replete with donuts, the zodiac placemats, fortune cookies, and tacky piped-in elevator music. Perhaps this is why the Mandarin Kitchen staff seemed so jaded; they know they're working in an environment which lies, but they want the money too.
By the way, the restaurant is not in Mpls, it's at Lyndale and 87th in Richfield.