Tried a new Mandarin & Szechuan restaurant in town this afternoon for lunch. Nothing like it in the city of Santa Barbara. The menu listed a lot of familiar dishes: Shrimp Fried Rice, Fried Dumplings, Chow Mein, etc. But…now we see Spicy Hot Pot, Grilled Fish in Dried Pot, or Stir Fried Pork Kidney /w Pickle Chili. We’re a bit confused, but owner Danny and his great staff are more then willing to walk you through each item. Before Danny walks away with our order he is very careful to explain heat/spicy levels, mild, medium, or blow your head off. We’d like to think we’re relatively good with heat so we went with medium. Dish came to our table boiling hot, not just figuratively but literally a big massive boiling cauldron of vegetable and meat laden red spicy broth. OK, so I’ll try to list a number of the tasty goodness in the cauldron: tripe, cauliflower, rice noodles, home-made spicy meatballs, lotus root, celery, tender thinly sliced potato, spam, thin slices of beef, big black mushrooms, herbs and spices. This doesn’t address all of the other tasty bits in this, never to be forgotten, soup. Danny came over to ask how we were doing with the heat, we replied, “wha…???” Literally Jim and I could not feel our tongues, lips, or near-by facial extremities. I think for one brief moment my eyes were dead, certainly know I wasn’t feeling my nose. Hey, but don’t get me wrong we were insanely happy. Turns out there was a lot of Szechuan pepper in the dish, which anesthetizes your lips, and anything else it comes in contact with, but your taste-buds are uninhibited.
Jim is now asking, is it too early to go back tomorrow. We want everyone to go to this restaurant. Danny and staff are great. Cuisine is not available any place else in Santa Barbara. Menu is a little all over the place but staff will walk you through it. Portions are huge. Just start small on the heat and build up to it, don’t try to be a hero. Prices are reasonable for the portion size.
You just gotta gotta gotta go, you won’t be sorry.
Location is 2840-C De La Vina Street, Santa Barbara, CA (805) 682-7191