Restaurant Preview: O Mandarin in Hartsdale

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill corner Chinese takeout joint.

The authentic antique-laden interior (check out the pair of Ch’ing Dynasty gentleman farmer’s chairs and hand-carved ceiling banner) should be a tip-off that O Mandarin is not your run-of-the-mill corner Chinese takeout joint. 

In fact, it’s first and foremost a sit-down restaurant, co-owned by White Plains resident Peter Liu, who’s also a partner at Port Chester’s Euro Asian Bistro. “I am saddened and frustrated by the state of Chinese restaurants in America that are stuck in a time of utilitarian décor and greasy food,” says Liu. “There is a need to represent Chinese food and culture accurately.”  The 95-seat O Mandarin is Liu’s attempt at a truthful portrayal: home-cooking and street food served family-style, honoring regional specificity. The menu includes meat-centric Old Mandarin dishes, like smoked pork with leeks and wild pepper beef; spicy Sichuan entrées, such as chili oil stew with fluke and napa cabbage; and mild, seafood-heavy Cantonese plates. A must-try, signature dish is the organic Peking duck that’s oven-roasted with malt sugar rubbed into the skin and served with house-made flour crepes, scallion, cucumber, and sweet hoisin sauce. The chef de cuisine is Eric Gao, a disciple of James Beard Award-nominated, Chinese-born Peter Chang, who has numerous restaurants in Virginia and Maryland.

Chef’s signature dishes — such as this Mandarin pork shank with wild peppercorns, onions, potatoes, and scallions — are served family-style. 

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Liu often visits China, where he grew up and lived until he was 20, and plans to bring in visiting chefs to cook regional specialties.

The space, previously a Friendly’s, underwent a six-month renovation and is now decked out in lots of elm wood and traditional Chinese cookware. 

“I see smiles when people eat the food here,” says Liu, “and that’s rewarding.” 

O Mandarin
361 Central Ave, Hartsdale