I follow a TON of food and restaurant related accounts on my personal Instagram. Over the past year or so, I’d noticed several of those accounts, including NYC based food folks, pimping out a fairly new Chinese food restaurant in Hartsdale, NY. As this is sadly not a usual occurrence, I took notice and put O Mandarin high on my to do list. With a good amount of delay, we finally made it there last summer. And now we keep going back. Find out below why this spot is a great addition to the suburbs.
The Vibe is Loud Enough For Dining With Kids and Swanky Enough For Date Nights
Located on Central Avenue in the same shopping center as H Mart, O Mandarin is unassuming from the outside, but pretty swank when you step inside. The space is modern and dazzling. There are comfortable booths all around the perimeter of the restaurant and several large circular tables perfect for larger groups in the center. Servers move quickly around the restaurant to refill water cups and replenish dirty plates. That bustling energy makes O Mandarin feel more like a city restaurant than a suburban one.
The restaurant’s high energy and quick service also translate well to kid-friendly dining. It’s a loud, busy dining space where other patrons won’t notice every noise and squirm your children make. In the early hours, you’ll see plenty of kids enjoying O Mandarin.
But the chic dining room works really well for date nights, too. I would love to come one day this winter with a few other couples, sit at one of those center round tables and get our drink and eat on. There’s even a large table set back in a little nook at the rear of the restaurant that’s perfect for a semi-private party.
And The Food Is Both Adventurous and Non-Adventurous
The menu at O Mandarin is really big and has something for the most adventurous AND the most unadventurous eaters. While you can certainly find most of the standard Cantonese fare on the menu, O Mandarin specializes in Szechuan cuisine. Think garlic, chili peppers and lots of flavor.
We usually order Pan Fried Pork and Shrimp Dumplings to start for our older daughter, as dumplings have become one of her favorite foods (and also because they come in a cute little boat!) Don’t skip the incredibly photogenic Scallion Bubble Pancake (2 come per order), which makes a great group nosh. The Smoked Duck Crispy Buns are another great way to start your meal.
O Mandarin’s Famous Chengdu Fish Soup with flounder and Chinese mustard cabbage is a delicious winter weather option. It’s rather large, though, so expect to share or have leftovers. Smaller, single servings of Hot and Sour Soup, Wonton Soup and Egg Drop Soup are also available.
For the larger plates, pay attention to the Mandarin Classics and the Chef’s Signatures sections. The Wild Pepper Beef from the Mandarin Classics menu is a very popular dish. If you’re a large group, consider the Mandarin Pork Shank - a HUGE hunk of pork in a flavorful onion, scallion and wild peppercorn sauce and surrounded by delicious bok choy - from the Chef’s Signature section. The Chicken Chao Mein is also a solid group order, especially if dining with kids, and the O Mandarin Peking Duck is an absolute money move for groups. It comes in half duck (serving 2-4 people) and whole duck (serving 4-6 people) portions.
For a lighter seafood dish, I love the Sweet Pea Prawns. And for the opposite of a light seafood dish, check out the Wild Pepper Shrimp and Crispy Rice.
With so many options, you really could dine at O Mandarin for months and never get sick of the menu. And it’s so tasty that maybe you SHOULD dine there every month!
Reservations and EXPANSIONS!
O Mandarin is almost always busy. They take reservations for any sized parties during the week and for parties of 4 or more on the weekends. A lunch menu is offered on weekdays and take out is always available. O Mandarin is located at 361 N. Central Avenue in Hartsdale, NY. It’s open from 11:00am until 9:30pm Mondays through Thursdays and on Fridays and Saturdays it stays open until 10:30pm. Sunday hours are 11:30am until 9:00pm.
And finally, those in Long Island, do not fret. Sometime this year, O Mandarin expects to expand to Hicksville!