Seattle >Food & Dining > Mandarin Chef
5022 University Way NE, Seattle, WA | Directions 9810547.665538 -122.312906
Mon-Sat 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Neighborhoods: University District, Northeast, Northeast Seattle
Hidden away on the Ave this haven of hand shaven noodles and hand made dumplings offers a comforting presence to the students at UW.
Great Authentic Chinese – We just moved to Seattle and particularly enjoy Chinese food. Not talking about American-Chinese here, we want to eat what the cook eats (assuming the cook is Asian).
Based on reviews, we decided to try Mandarin Chef. It is owned by a husband and wife. He?s the cook and she (her name is Lang) is the server. They?re from Shanghai. This place is pretty small, plain and clean. We got there at 7:00 on a rainy Wednesday night and were the only customers. Not a good sign, but we decided to stay.
Lang suggested homemade pork dumplings, house special chow mien with homemade noodles, and green beans with chicken. We added a few beers and placed the order.
The generous portion of dumplings came first and were delicious. They were made of fresh dough wrapped around ground gently-spiced meat and had been either steamed or boiled. A soy-based sauce with vinegar and a touch of sugar was served for dipping.
Next came fresh chow mien. The noodles were very delicate ? flat and about 1/8? wide, stir-fried with bay shrimp, small pieces of pork and chicken, water chestnuts and a few assorted veggies. The seasoning was nicely calm and perfect; anything more heavy or oily would have overwhelmed the noodles. Eating this dish transported me back to a visit to China in 1977 where, throughout Shanghai, you could see fresh noodles or laundry hanging out to dry on balconies throughout the city - what a treat!
Last came the green beans (Chinese long beans). First the beans had been blistered, then stir-fried with sauce and bits of chicken. The beans were bathed in a light coating of a thick tomato-based sauce finished with a touch of sweet and spicy. The preparation was perfect with a nice traditional sauce.
With the three dishes, steamed rice and three beers, two people ate for $40 (without tip). We will definitely go back, adding this to our favorites list. The only negative might be that Lang was chatty which might put some people off - we found her charming and amusing.
Love the Mandarin Chef! – Love that the food is always as good as the last time. Love that the same couple have been running it for years! Love that they always remember you even if it's been awhile since your last visit. Love the dumplings!
Chinese – Today was my first visit here, for lunch. It's basically a husband and wife operation in a storefront with no ambiance at all. The kind of place you go looking mainly for a good deal. Instead of ordering one of the lunch combos, which looked very reasonable, we ordered off the main part of the menu. Happy Family and General Tsao's Chicken, with a half order of bbq pork as appetizer . The pork was kind of tough, and there couldn't have been more than maybe 10 or 12 rather small pieces for the $3.50 price. I think I'd skip that next time, for what it was worth in quality. .
The two main dishes were very good in terms of quality and flavor, but in the $8-10 range we were very disappointed in the quantity. I know these places often don't give you same quantity at lunch as you get for dinner, but we weren't paying lunch prices. With just one soft drink and the tip, this became a $30+ affair, with NO leftovers, and I mean we didn't exactly pig out. Maybe our ordering strategy just wasn't very smart, but as it was, even though the main food dishes were very tasty, this was not a good value proposition for me.
However, the quality of the food was intriguing enough that I'd like to give it another try. It would probably be best to try dinner to see if that quantity problem disappears, but unless I was a UW student or a local, I probably wouldn't want to be there at night for dinner, so that'll probably never happen..
Wahoo! Great Chinese food in the neighborhood! – After reading reviews here, my family patronized this restaurant and were not disappointed. The service was excellent, the food was DELICIOUS, and the meal was surprisingly inexpensive. The dumplings and homemade chow mein noodles were particularly memorable. We all agreed that the chow mein was better than Judy Fu's. Give this place a try!
Tastey! – Mandarin Chef is a great restaurant..and the staff is even better! I always got excellent service. Their food isn't too shabby either. I especially like their general tso's and their tofu curry is delicious. I was surprised at how cheap their food was for the big portions you get. Recommend!
Sizzling rice soup = love! – If you want great Chinese food that is cheap yet better than the gross concotions of some of the Ave's other restaurants, come here! My childhood favorite at my old favorite Chinese restaurant was sizzling rice soup... and imagine my pure joy when I learned that Mandarin Chef makes FANTASTIC sizzling rice soup. Every dish I have tried has been flavorful, and I like that they offer brown rice as an option. Service is always quick and the lady is so sweet! You just want to hug her :)
Editorial Review – Simple and unpretentious eatery serves up Chinese food in a home-style fashion to U-District students and neighborhood locals.
I dream about the dumplings, plenty of choices for vegetarians and vegans – This restaurant has a little seceret and it's called "The Chefs Specialities". Order from that section and you won't be sad. Better yet, ask Lang (the woman who will most likey take your order) for a recommendation. She won't dissapoint you and neither will her husband/chef. To appease the usual American customer they also have dishes like the ubiquitous sweet and sour chicken and for what it is, it's not bad. But don't waste your time on these, stick to the handmade noodles and specials of the day. You can eat for two days on what they bring you. Best place for a delicious dinner in a relaxed (although not romantic) setting before or after going to a movie in the U-district. And the dumplings...even meat-lovers should try the veggie dumplings. I recommend stirring a little chili paste into the dumpling sauce, they can provide this for you. They also have brown rice for the health concious or for those who want to justify the spicey crispy eggplant.
Great lunch spot for Chinese food lovers – Mandarin Chef has a huge menu, low prices, and the server was very accomodating. This is a great restaurant when you want a liesurely lunch of flavorful food. If you live in the University District and are sick of China First and New China Express, definitely head a few blocks up the Ave to Mandarin Chef. Try the green onion pancake, house noodles, or homemade dumplings. Reminiscent of Judy Fu's in the Maple Leaf district, but less expensive.
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