Many businesses share the name Mandarin Garden, but the one to which I refer is on North Fair Oaks in Pasadena.

    In terms of quality, it is a run of the mill Chinese-American fast food restaurant. The orange chicken is adequate, if a little runny and bland. The white rice is on the dry side, and the fried rice is mildly greasy, but available with beef, pork, shrimp, or chicken cooked in.

    The selection, on the other hand, goes well beyond the norm for similar places. There are more flavors, including almond, cashew, curry, and sweet and pungent, and more different kinds of meat are served with each one. The range of seafood is excellent. There is sweet and sour shrimp, cooked much the way sweet and sour pork or chicken traditionally is and with just as much success, scallops done many different ways, and, for the more calorie-conscious, shrimp with snow peas or a number of other vegetables. There are even a few duck and lobster options.

    The building itself is in a rather uncomfortable area, but free delivery is offered. Par in many ways and above in a few, I give it three and a half stars out of five.