I really love House of Chao and wish I'd discovered it earlier. It's a gem of a Chinese restaurant tucked away in Westville (it reminds me of the Chinese restaurant hilariously featured in A Christmas Story).
The food here, while Americanized, is prepared with a delicacy that you rarely ever find in most Chinese joints. You also will find a couple of unusual options (such as seitan and multiple preparation styles for tofu).
My favorite dishes are actually not even technically on the menu, but they'll make them if you ask: General Tso's bean cake and Kung Pao bean cake. The former consists of fried tofu cubes in a subtly sweet-spicy sauce with bell peppers and broccoli; the sauce is flavorful, but not sticky, gooey and sickly sweet as you normally find with General Tso's dishes. The Kung Pao consists of diced, sauteed tofu cubes with a fiery pepper sauce, along with diced water chestnuts and bell peppers. It is spicy, tasty and has a wide array of textures, which I love.
I'd also recommend the curry tofu, which is not listed on the take-out menu (but is on the in-house menu); this dish consists of slabs of thick tofu with carrots, broccoli, peapods and a couple other vegetables in a colorful, savory mix. You don't see Chinese curry dishes often, but when you do, they're awesome.
The seitan dishes (called "sergun" on the take-out menu and "sugun" on the in-house menu) are okay, but not great; I find that the seitan they use is a bit too chewy. However, they are willing to substitute this, or tofu, in a number of dishes.
Lastly, and thankfully, they have brown rice. I hate white rice.
The service is always friendly and prompt. The portion sizes are large and represent a great value; a single dish for $8 or $9 will last you at least three meals, if not more.
House of Chao is the only Chinese restaurant in New Haven that I consider worth eating at. I only wish it were downtown, instead of Westville, but I'm glad it's around regardless.