We have enjoyed Mr. Chen's since it opened several years ago.
Advice: Don't get the standard sesame chicken / Mongolian beef served at every mall Chinese restaurant. Instead, try something different, such as the basil chicken, the mapo tofu (which is not vegetarian - it has ground pork - and which is served in a flaming fondue-style pot, so your food never gets cold), and especially the boiled beef in hot oil. This last dish, despite its odd name, is both simple and delicious. Each of these dishes is a departure from cookie-cutter Chinese fare without rising to the "dare food" level of crispy intestine, spicy sliced pork ears, and beef tripe - although these dishes are also available, if you are more adventurous than we are.
I also recommend the house chow fun, a wide noodle dish with beef, chicken and shrimp. It may be available even if it isn't on the menu or specials board. Ask your waiter!
Regarding the atmosphere, the decor is better than most take-out Chinese places. We also enjoy seeing Chinese news on TV, although we understand not a whit.
Without question, Mr. Chen's is our favorite Chinese restaurant in Birmingham.
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