Mandarin Chef is no fancy restaurant. But if you are looking for a small hole in the wall, family run cozy little restaurant, Mandarin Chef more than fit the bill. Lunch prices are especially well priced ($5-$6) with large portions. This little restaurant has been the regular hangout for my wife since she was attending UW 10 yrs ago. The owner will want to get to know the regulars and always love chatting with us about anything and everything.
We love their homemade noodles and we always order a side of dumpling/potstickers with each visit (sometimes pork, sometimes veggie). We also tend to order the egg corn soup which is one of the best in town ($1.50/cup). We love their chicken with broccoli (medium spicy) to the point that even if they don't have it on their menu, they know to make it for us. They lean towards the more Szechuan dishes (spicy) vs the Cantonese type (Hong Kong hence not spicy). But they offer both options and we often wouldn't know which way we're going to lean til we sit down. Look for their specials on the wall next to the cash register. They always have yummy dish of the day.
There aren't too many non-westernized Chinese restaurants around Seattle, outside of the International District. Mandarin Chef is the only one we visit regularly especially due to its location yet it's still more than a 15 min drive for us. It's a small yet cozy family run restaurant that is well priced with wonderful tasting dishes. Mandarin Chef keeps my wife and I happy between visits to Vancouver, B.C.