Things I highly enjoy at Mandarin Chef:
* crispy eggplant (oh my goodness this is good)
* Mongolian beef
* green onion pancakes
* hot & sour soup
* green beans with almonds
I hear great things about the salt & pepper prawns. Not being a big prawn-eater, I wouldn't know. The dumplings are about average, pork being better than the vegetarian ones.
Lunch is the best deal at Mandarin Chef. For about $8, you get soup, eggroll, entree with rice, drink and tip. (Sidenote: Those who dislike being served soda in a can will be disappointed.)
The service, unfortunately, tends to be on the slow side. At lunch, there is generally only one server and (as far as I can tell) two people in the kitchen. The restaurateur is friendly bordering on spunky, though, and if you get to know her, you'll be privy to happy banter and oddball antics (like when she scooped up the baby of some long-time customers and nearly whisked it away into the kitchen without thinking twice--it was sweet). This may make up for any wait.
The restaurant itself is small, on the colder side and pretty much the definition of hole-in-the-wall, save that it's cleaner than not and not extremely dark.
I'm generally wary of Chinese restaurants not in the ID (not sure why), so I can't say much about neighboring establishments offering the same fare. I can say that if I'm not hitting Chinese up in the ID, I'm digging in here.