The Old is my New

Wasn’t it just this past week when I lamented the fact that not only had it been a while since I’ve eaten a most excellent Chinese meal, but, it had been even longer since I’ve I worn a sh*t-eating grin from having the most divine food that had completely blown me away? Last night’s meal has updated the above. And I’m still smiling.  I have found my new favorite restaurant.

Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant (way out in the 40’s of the Outer Sunset) has been around for years (a 25ish year old patron exclaimed his grandparents used to bring him there when he was a little kid) but it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve been hearing about this from friends.  Rightly so…the minute you smell the broth and start cooking the slivers of luscious lamb, blocks of tofu, cabbage and spinach leaves in the hot pot set (think of it as a Chinese fondue), you don’t want anyone else to know about this place – this is your secret nirvana dining palace. Then, your plate of beef pancakes arrive and you’re already planning your next visit.

How can a small, family run, visually typical, neighborhood Chinese restaurant turn my world upside down with a simple dish (lamb) that I normally would not touch with a ten foot chopstick? I have no idea. Maybe because the lamb is cut so thinly, the meat doesn’t have a chance to get gamy. Maybe because the weather outside was frightful and the hot pot was so delightful. But if you’re looking for somewhere to go, go to The Old, go to The Old, go to The Old.

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