Hunan Home, City View, Brandy Ho's
Okay, these were all just highly recommended to me via a friend's daughter and son-in-law who have lived in S.F. for years. Please feel free to add any comentary if you've been to:
Hunan Home on Franklin, anything in Clay Pot, pea leaves, steamed chicken and eggplant.
City View in financial District for Dim Sum.
Brandy Ho's (sounds like an exotic dance club) on Columbus for Szechwan.
Brandy Ho - forget about it. Your analogy is a good one. Dressed up for tourists and priced to gouge.
City View is very good quality dim sum and reasonably priced. I used to go with large groups from work. I like the venerable Yank Sing on Battery better, though.
Brandy Ho is Hunan style food, not Szechwan. They have some good things--I don't think it expensive like the previous poster. The extra dollar or so charged here is going for better quality meats than you get in most Chinatown dives. I still like Henry Hunan (on Sacramento/Kearney) better. There is a larger one on Sansome near B'way.
I'm glad you've had better experience at Brandy Ho's than I have. Tried the location on Columbus St. three times and it struck out each time. I chalked up it's popularity to better service, English-speaking staff and decor that non-Chinese feel comfortable in. Hunan ham and tea-smoked duck, two dishes that a competent Hunan restaurant should get right didn't make the grade. What would you recommend that's more successful?
I haven't been to Henry's Hunan on Sansome for a long time, but it was a regular stop when I worked downtown.