Bite of the Palouse: Mandarin House a must-try for spring

This near hidden gem is just packed with great food and good service



Filled up and ready with some leftovers

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

Welcome back, everyone!

Hopefully, like me, you have missed Pullman immensely and are eager to hang out with friends and get classes over with. But your journey back to the Palouse would not be complete without the next stop on our culinary journey. 

Drum roll, please … I am talking about Mandarin House. Located in downtown Pullman, right at the top of the t-intersection of Grand Avenue, this restaurant is pretty easy to miss if you are not looking. Make sure to not blink; otherwise, you might miss the little red sign at 115 N. Grand Ave.

The times that Mandarin House is open vary depending on the day of the week, but generally speaking, you can get food during normal lunch and dinner hours. For more up-to-date hours, it is best to check online or give them a call at (509) 332-1888.

The restaurant has an incredibly aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, checking off all the boxes that I look for. There is some soft music playing, the conversations are present but not districting, and the restaurant is well-decorated. I just sat there and enjoyed the atmosphere before ordering.

At the outset, I was impressed by the menu and the options that it provided me. Separated out by the main aspect of each dish — pork, chicken, beef, etc. — it was easy to read and the descriptions were very helpful if I had questions. With lots of options, I was not hit with choice paralysis for the first time in a while.

I eventually would settle on an egg roll, spicy pork served with rice, all capped off with a Tsingtao beer. One of the first things that stuck with me throughout the visit was a surprisingly simple but great aspect of the restaurant: the order in which the food came out. Instead of everything being dumped on me at once, my server made sure to stagger the food, which allowed me to enjoy each separately.

The service was wonderful, and any questions that I had about the food or menu were happily answered. Even better, the waiter did not groan when I did not take their recommendation and instead chose the spicy option.

Blissfully, the food came out quickly, and the delicious smells sent me into near spirals. But I fear I must leave you on a cliffhanger as I talk about the beer, a tasty addition that really added to the experience. I am always a fan of a Tsingtao and paired with a chilled, fancy-shaped mug, it was very refreshing after a long day.

The portions were sizeable, though not the biggest I have seen. That was alright with me, as I quickly found out that the food did not need to be piled in mountain form for me to enjoy it, the restaurant hitting the Goldilocks spot of quality and quantity. The price was not bad either, but hold your horses dear reader; we will get to that too. 

I know that you are on the edge of your seat waiting and wishing for just how the food would taste. Get your taste buds ready and your mouth watering because there is so much to say. 

But when I took my first bite of that food, I was at a loss for words. The waiter had dutifully warned me that it was spicy, and I had laughed it off. It was spicy. Plain and simple. But instead of making me want to bathe in milk, I loved every second of it. Sure my mouth was aflame, but the taste was not compromised at all. 

While the rice was not anything special, it added a perfect balance to the spice of the meat and the taste of the beer. Overall, I was incredibly satisfied with the experience. And best of all, I had ample leftovers to take home for lunch the next day. While Mandarin House does not have the same servings as other similar restaurants, they more than made up for it in taste. 

And do not worry, the leftovers tasted just as good as when they were served to me in the restaurant. If you wanted to, it would not be a bad idea to go there for some good grub and then order some specifically for lunch the next day.

As you are returning back to classes, it is important to be looking for some good places to eat. Look no further than Mandarin House. Located not far from campus, the restaurant hits all the checks an incoming student should be searching for, like price, taste and leftovers. A real gem that I will be revisiting soon.

If you know of some food spots that I have not tried yet that you are just dying to brag about to your friends, let me know by emailing [email protected].