You Have To Hunt Down Au Mandarin’s Lunch Special, But It’s Worth It
I can’t remember the last time I got a lunch for less than $10 from a place where the greeters wear suits. Au Mandarin in the World Financial Center is a hybrid of classy Chinese food being served to finance workers in a food court. If you look at the signboard in front of the restaurant, you’ll notice a piece of paper announcing an $8.95 lunch special which seems like a good deal since everything on the menu is more than $10. The catch is there’s only one dish for the special every day and you have to go around the corner to the cheapskate’s entrance to get it from a lady at a steam table.
The special the day I was there was sesame chicken and you get a little spring roll and white rice with it. The portion of meat was pretty large, filling one half of the square takeout container while a generous scoop of rice made up the rest. I thought it was a good deal, although for another $2 you can add a soup. The spring roll was tiny and mostly fried dough with a couple of bits of vegetable within.
This was far classier than many versions of takeout sesame chicken, with a few broccoli florets and some snow peas strewn throughout. The sauce wasn’t as gloppy or sweet as you sometimes encounter. This was a nice take on Americanized Chinese and I didn’t mind not having a choice of main dish.
So, if you want Chinese food and work in Battery Park City this is a good option. Just bypass the besuited gentlemen up front and head around the corner to the little annex across from the Devon & Blakely for your discounted lunch.
Au Mandarin, World Financial Center food court, 200 Vesey St., (212) 385-0311