We can’t imagine it being any better in Tokyo.
Tokyo Mandarin Chinese
Price: $36 (For Two – Includes Tip)
Meal: Dinner / Weekend / 745p
Special Note: BYOB
Our first official Chinese review is here and we’re probably going to have to quadruple our server bandwidth to handle the traffic. Yes, hit the refresh button and come back in twenty minutes. When you talk about Chinese food, people sure listen.
Tokyo Mandarin is located on a fairly busy, but accessible, vein of South Jersey. The exterior is pleasant, although the parking was a little cramped on the Friday night we visited. The restaurant is BYOB, so we picked up a couple of hard ice teas (which, by the way, were neat to mix into the hot tea they served) and headed in. We didn’t wait for a seat, and within 30 seconds we were greeted and given menus. Tokyo Mandarin offers a full bevy of Chinese and Japanese food, so it’s perfect if there’s a non-sushi fan amongst you that just wants to have some great Chinese. Both of us knew what we wanted from past visits, so we ordered right there. In short fashion, we were given fried noodles and duck sauce which we devoured pretty quickly.
The interior has a real nice atmosphere. There’s a sushi bar, about a half dozen larger tables, a few ‘for two’ tables, and three large Japanese-style booths. For the most part, the dining room was accounted for. Our table, the couples variety, had plenty of room and wasn’t uncomfortably close to other patrons. For a large group, there’s a table in the rear that probably seats eight or so – and is recessed to offer a little more privacy. Everything seemed pretty clean, our waiter was friendly, and we were impressed even prior to receiving our meals.
I tried some sushi; a dynamite roll (tempura scallops, spinach, and a host of other stuffs) and a spicy lobster roll (no explanation necessary) seemed like a good way to go. Autumn had chicken and broccoli (along with her chicken fingers the other day she’s sure going all out for these reviews, huh?) with brown rice. After a reasonable 10 minute or so wait, the food was on the table. In the interim, our water was refilled and we certainly felt welcomed and appreciated.
The sushi was amazing, and I’m even craving some more as we speak. Both choices were fresh, prepared superbly, and worth every penny of the $20 or so I’d paid for the 12 pieces. As an unexpected bonus, they gave me two extra, a bit more decorative than the others, set aside on the plate (to be honest, I wasn’t 100% certain they were the same rolls, but they looked and tasted fantastic!). Accompanied with the typical wasabi paste (no joke – it’s hot), ginger, and as much soy sauce as you like, I’d recommend their sushi even if you haven’t been sold on it in the past.
The chicken and broccoli was damn good, too. I stole a little off of Autumn’s plate when she wasn’t looking, and enjoyed it thoroughly. The chicken was tender, with crunchy, large broccoli pieces in equal proportion. The brown sauce may have been a smidge on the heavier/saltier side for me, but when I asked Autumn how their take on chicken and broccoli compared against others, she said it was the best she’s had. Tokyo Mandarin gets points for offering brown rice, not something every Chinese place does. In my opinion, it has better flavor, better ‘weight’, and is slightly better for you (nutritionally) than white rice.
After the meal was finished, we were given fresh orange wedges (decorative and edible) and fortune cookies. Tokyo Mandarin used to give out steaming-hot face towels, too, but now they give you a lukewarm pre-packaged sanitary cloth that reminded me of your garden variety baby wipes. Our waiter actually noticed when we were leaving, and waved goodbye to us. Nice ‘warm and fuzzy’ close to a very good dinner. I got a chance to check out the bathroom before we left, and found it more than acceptable.
– Very good everything
– Attentive service
– Pleasant atmosphere
– Very reasonable pricing
– Relatively low noise
– Only moderate privacy via table spacing
– Doesnt seem suitable for super-romantic occasions (no candles or dim lights)
Our Score: 4.8 Chews
Subjective Rating: Nearly perfect. Bring a friend.
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