Mulan Bistro, a 13-year-old local family of restaurants, recently opened its third location in East Memphis in the former space of Mac’s Burgers. I haven’t been to one of Mulan’s locations in quite a while, but having made acquaintances with one of their servers at a Server’s Permit class and learning of all the vegetarian and vegan options, I decided to give it another try.
While I have to disagree with the owner’s recent statement about a lack of good Asian restaurants in East Memphis (Mulan East is less than 1.2 miles from Tokyo Grill, Sakura, and Bangkok Alley, three of my absolute favorite locally-owned places), I will always welcome another eatery of this kind into the fold.
Mulan East has ample parking, so you never have to worry about getting a spot. There is an outdoor patio for nicer nights, plenty of indoor seating, and a large rounded bar. The restaurant is dimly lit, the perfect ambience for a place like this. We chose the bar, and our bartender was immediately attentive and very friendly.
First, we split an order of Vietnamese Tofu Spring Rolls and Vegetarian Spring Rolls. The ones with tofu came with a sweet peanut sauce, and I was happy to see that they were fairly large. The veggies were crisp, and the vermicelli was fresh and perfectly cooked.
The other spring rolls were the smaller, fried kind, and very delicious. The filling consisted of tofu, cabbage, carrots, mushroom, and garlic. They weren’t greasy at all, a problem that seems to happen fairly often. They were paired with a sweet chili sauce to balance all of the wonderful heavier elements.
For our entree, we chose the Cashew Nut option from the Chinese menu with tofu. It was a large portion of sauteed squash, zucchini, green and red peppers, and cashews with the perfectly light amount of savory sauce. We also added pineapple for a bit of tartness. The tofu was actually some of the best I’ve ever tasted, the flavor on par with the thin crispy tofu from A-Tan’s Moo Shu Vegetables.
I will definitely be back, as the menu is expansive, and I spied several Thai dishes that I’d love to taste. We had a great experience, so I’d recommend popping in as soon as possible.