16 July 2013

Eden Prairie: Great Mandarin

In order to set the correct mood for writing tonight about this particular restaurant, I have selected the soundtrack for the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie.  Partly because the word Mandarin now makes me think indirectly of Robert Downey, Jr., and partly because this is a knuckle-crackin', jaw-droppin' story.

Now, muffins.  I may or may not have made it clear in the past that I'm not usually a fan of Chinese food.  But in this instance I was willing to try because I remember it being pretty good and because it was convenient.  Mom, Sister and I approached, grabbed a menu, and speculated about the possibility of eating there.  A host was nearby, so I snagged him and asked if they could do gluten free.

The ENTIRE STAFF came to us and explained exactly how several items on the menu are gluten free or could be made gluten free.  Seriously.  Like 3 people.  So we took a seat.

Great Mandarin
1206 Eden Prairie Center
8251 Flying Cloud Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
(952) 941-9828

This happens to be one of those places that serves Eggplant with Garlic Sauce.  I knew I'd be set from square one.  Sister was intrigued by my choice, so she resolved to order the same thing.  But when our server came by and she asked if the Eggplant could be made gluten free, the server said no.  No big deal.  She chose Shrimp with Peapods instead.  The server attested to its freedom from all things gluten.

Then the host came over and told Sister that Shrimp with Peapods was a great gluten free choice.  He was very attentive.

Then the MANAGER brought out this plate of incredible string beans, for free, for like no reason!

They were super delicious, expertly cooked, firm, and saucily salty.  They're not on the menu.  But man, were they good.

Mom asked if they were gluten free, and the manager started to say yes - but then changed his mind.  He apologized and explained they had been made with soy sauce.  Mom and I shrugged and scarfed them.  Then I pretended they sucked, for Sister's sake.  (Shh, she doesn't know.)

Our food came and we were all pretty satisfied.  My Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, $11.50, was surprisingly good!  The green peppers were crunchy, the sauce a little spicy, and the eggplant so melty and wonderful.  Truly, I was impressed, in a way that I rarely am by Chinese food.

About halfway through our meal, between conversations about American history and the Dollar Shave Club commercial, Sister pulled a f-ing NOODLE out of her meal.

Yes.  A NOODLE.  Made out of gluten.

So, since Sister has Celiac's, she was done eating.  20 parts per million of gluten particles are enough to cause the lining of her small intestine to start like disintegrating or something.  An entire noodle?  MAJOR contaminant.

We let the server and host know what had happened, because they came to our table to ask how the meal was.  Sister asked to see the manager.  He apologized and took the cost of her meal off the bill, but didn't seem to realize that this was a serious accident.

If a food accident happened to somebody with Celiac's, it could happen to a vegan.  So for the Great Mandarin I have to say: eat here at your own risk.

Wow that makes me feel pretty badass right there.