A group of five of us went to “House of Nanking” in San Francisco. All I can say is wow.
We got there, waited briefly, and were seated within five minutes. The chef comes by, and asks “is this your first time here?” After we nod, he takes our menus from us and says “don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” More dishes than I can count later, I can say that he took care of us.
First came a “south african” dish of mushrooms, slightly crispy on the outside and marvelously flavorful and tender inside. They were covered with a good deal of salt and pepper (and some other spices, whose identity I can’t guess). They were marvelous.
This was followed by super-thin slices of “well-cooked pork” in a “Chinese vinegar sauce.”
I got tea, proper green tea, prepared in an infuser. Simple, but done right. That doesn’t happen anymore.
Seafood patties of some sort.
Sesame chicken, thin-sliced fried yams.
Some sort of fish dish.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some dishes. They arrived at a rate faster than we could consume them, all perfectly fresh and hot. There’s no hot plate, one of the cooks just brings the food straight to your table as soon as it’s done.
The chef stopped by periodically to see how we were doing, and chatted at length with some of our party. Apparently Rachel Ray had been here at some point. Good for her.
The most amazing calamari, ever. It was perfectly tender and succulent, yet had a lovely crust to bite through, and was not fried. I really have not had any Calamari like it, ever. Transcendental stuff. Really.
Honestly, one of the more amazing meals I’ve had in years. The whole thing worked out to $22 per person (before tip). You owe it to yourself, eat there. Yes, it looks like a dump, but a clean dump — the type of place that’s been eat in and used forever. The patina on your tea pot. It doesn’t matter. After the first bite, you won’t care. 10/10.