i would like to report with much enthusiasm the meal that my boyfriend and i just experienced at mandarin house (near saturday market on 2nd and Ankeny). this resturaunt has a menu with two sections. the first is the chinese menu, the second one is american-chinese. i was advised by a chinese acquaintance to order off the chinese menu, and feeling adventurous, both myself and my partner ordered dishes that we had never tried before.
the food turned out to be phenomenal. my dish, which they called in english "spicy fish" was an enormous casserole, with chunks of fish that melted in the mouth, spicy cabbage, szechuan peppercorns, and some crunchy sprouts, immersed in a very piquant spicy sauce with red peppers bobbing about. it turned out to be more than enough food for the two of us. Matt (my boyfriend) ordered some "beef pancake" appetizer, a delicate pastry roll with fine strips of beef and scallion inside.
all in all, i must say that this place fits the bill of my ideal resturaunt. moderately priced (not supercheap, but not by any means expensive), down to earth/friendly service and atmosphere, and food that is unpretentiously exquisite, in a homestyle sort of way. i highly recommend this place to anyone seeking the same. if you go, i have to suggest the spicy fish dish!!