A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Tom on Mandalay

So this Sunday Tom Sietsema reviewed my beloved Mandalay at its new location in Silver Spring. His review, on the whole, was very positive. I was especially pleased when I saw that he highlighted my personal favorite dish on the menu, the pork with pickled mango. However, I've got a couple of problems with his review.

First, he cites problems with service. Now I know Tom has been in Zurich for the last week, so his review is, at the very least, a few weeks old. Mandalay's new location has only been open for about a month and a half from what I recall--barely enough time to work the kinks out. The previous incarnation of the restaurant was basically a postage stamp, and the new location is fairly large by restaurant standards. Tom's criticisms are thus, I suspect, a little premature.

Also, I was disappointed that Tom didn't review (or note, perhaps) any of the room temperature noodle dishes. Along with the salads, these are some of the more unique (and tasty) dishes on the menu--surely they merit a mention! Tom also failed to note the Sunday and Tuesday special dishes. One of them, Sunday's chicken on coconut rice, is a revelation. The rice is so tender, fluffy, and flavorful--extremely different from the standard treatment rice gets around DC. Oh well, maybe next time.

Finally, I worry that the review might cause a mob scene at Mandalay. Tom's reviews have tremendous power--especially when he reviews something in the 'burbs. In any case, it will probably be a great boost to the restaurant's business, which is a good thing in my book.

One other side note: it's been noticed that I seem to be a pretty big fan of Sietsema. In a word, yes. Unlike Blake Gopnik, the Post's uber-snobby art critic, Sietsema is open minded to new flavors, exceedingly egalitarian, and a pretty fine writer to boot. Sometimes he deserves criticism, but ultimately he's a great critic for DC's diverse dining scene. The rating system he uses seems to reserve three and four star ratings for only the more expensive and exclusive DC restaurants, but that seems fair given the extra bells and whistles those restaurants provide. He's good people, in my opinion--and anyone who follows along with his Wednesday chats can attest to this.