Review - Mandarin Court (61 Mott St, 212 608 3838)
We popped in for a late Sunday afternoon Dim Sum lunch at Mandarin Court this weekend. It has been two plus years since I was here last, but things were the same. Service was harried, the ambience is minimal, the front desk slightly overwhelmed ... yet the dumplings were quite tasty. Not radiant like Dim Sum Go Go but very good, and given the prevalence of the steam cart, it has the Chinatown Dim Sum authenticity that DSGG seems to miss a little.
We started with Salt & Pepper Shrimp which were excellent, average pork potstickers and then pea shoot (I think) potstickers. The vegetable dumplings were fried on the bottom like the pork ones and were really tasty. We had some ok sauteed bok choy as well and a steamed barbecued pork bun while the steamer cart wound its way back to us.
Then, at last after much beckoning and pleading, came the steamer cart, where I went hog wild. We had a half dozen little metal cannister dropped in front of us, mostly filled with a variety of shrimp and pork steamed dumplings . There was one tin of steamed duck crescents that was quite good, but the rest were only slightly above average. I wonder if they were a little gummy from being trotted around the restaurant for twenty minutes before getting to us. Still, it was nice being able to choose from the whole spectrum. Many times when I get seated in the back at Mandarin Court there is not much left to pick from this cart, since the dumbwaiter to the kitchen is in the front, and the cart gets picked over by hungry diners seated in the front.
For dessert we had some greasy sesame seed coated red bean balls. I've always thought they were weird, but I guess it ok to try a bite every now and then.
Mandarin Court is a solid place, although not my first choice anymore. It's hard to spend more than $15 per person here, but we ended up at $20 per person all in, due to my gluttony.