After reading about it for quite a while, I finally made it over to the Mandalay in SF last nite. There were 5 of us gathered around the table -- including one other local hounder, and 2 visiting from out of town. I'm pleased to report that I was not disappointed.
One quite organized member of the crew who had already been to Mandalay a few times arrived with a list of items -- some to enjoy again and some to try out for the first time. Here's to pals who keep lists! Hands down, it's the best tea leaf salad I've tasted in the Bay Area-- great medley of flavors + textures. But just as great was the ginger salad -- the ginger seemed to be pickled just to soften it enough to be slivered. Balada was nice -- as was the curry dipping sauce. Samusa soup was spicey -- which I appreciated. And the fish chowder was a wonderful Burmese take on catfish kinda blended in the soup. Loved the dry sauteed green beans. I'm not into the fried foods, but others dug into a huge pile of deep fried onion, then dipped them in a sauce. But I enjoyed the rice noodles -- I think it was with bits of coconut chicken.
The main complaint: we arrived on time for our 7:30 reservation but didn't get seated for another 30 minutes. But they kindly comped us dessert: rectangles of sweet potato coated in perhaps a bit of salt/sugar + sprinkled with ground seeds. I really loved it. But you gotta love sweet potato to appreciate it.
I'll be back there again soon.
4344 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118