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Best Company Lunch Spot

  • c

Boss is stuck on Henry Hunan's downtown sf, Natoma & 2nd. Don't know why, but part of the draw is the huge round tables to accommodate 10-15 people. Their food is gloppy, salty, and, well, boring.

So. Who has a place in mind where we could go as a party of 10-15 and get out for a reasonable price (no alcohol will be involved). The only key is it has to be within downtown SF.

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    1. re: Maple

      I don't think you can get out of Yank Sing for a "reasonable" price. Has anyone eaten at Mehfil recently?

    2. if chinese sounds good - Canton on Folsom

      655 Folsom, SF

      (415) 495-3064



      1. Chaat Cafe for Indian or Cha-Am for Thai. Both at 3rd and folsom. Both can get busy at lunch but will take a reservation for a large group.



        3 Replies
        1. re: Fussy Foodie

          Second on Cha Am. Decent food and they're competent at handling big groups.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Third on Cha Am - I often see large groups eating there. Love the curry salmon when they have it!

          2. re: Fussy Foodie

            and a fourth on Cha Am. I thnk they do a particularly good job with grilled items.Their specials are often grilled seafood items, and worth ordering.Biggest group I've taken there has been about eight; they handled us well.

          3. I like Henry's Hunan's smoked ham and hot and sour beef a lot. They're salted on the assumption that you're going to eat them with plenty of bland, unsalted rice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I agree 100% on the hot and sour beef - I've not yet tried the smoked ham. Sometimes the kung pao chicken is also great, but it is inconsistent. I do have to have my periodic hit of Henry's, I must admit.

            2. Disclaimer: I have not been to the Natoma & 2nd location. Henry's is boring?? You're bummed about having company lunches at the legendary Henry's?? There aren't many restaurants I will defend, but Henry's is one. It's the mecca of spicy chinese. It was called the best chinese food in the world by the NY Times. I am in the south bay and make a point of eating there whenever I can. No offense, but maybe your boss is the boss for a reason. He knows good.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Hoss

                Oh please. It's not even the best Chinese food in the Bay Area.

                We had a chowdown at Henry's on Sansome (the mother house, I believe) and the consensus was that there was a certain sameness to all the dishes, even though we had done our best to pick different preparations from the menu. I honestly can't remember a thing we ate there, so obviously nothing was outstanding.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  That chowdown must have been before my time or I just didn't remember it. I've not chimed in on Henry's much if at all because of lack of Chinese food savy, but I always thought it was just ok and nothing special. I worked 1/2 of block from the one in the finacial district and did business lunches at the other and have to agree about the sameness. Just good to see someone else had the same thought. Let's say I'd rather eat at Canton on Folsom which says alot. If your boss likes henry's he'd probably like Canton ... and they have round tables ... though the place IMO is in the Henry's category. It doesn't help you a whole lot since you are trading one boring place for another ... but different local ... Oh wait ... I know ... Have you guys ever tried B & M Mei Sing? Not knock your socks off, but reliable and good. It was my Chinese food of choice in when I worked in that area. Get the beef and tofu. I have a craving now.

                  1. re: rworange

                    It was part of the Chinatown lunch series. Here's the report: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/29986...

                    Note that I misremembered the street -- I remembered the location correctly, but the street name that started with "S" was Sacramento, not Sansome. I believe the location we ate at (Sacramento) is, as I said, the original location.

                2. re: Hoss

                  That was Tony Hiss in the New Yorker in 1974, and he was talking about the original hole-in-the-wall Hunan on Kearny St. At the time it might have been the only Hunan restaurant in the country.

                  I think the food's pretty much the same but there's a lot more competition. I like their hot and sour beef, smoked ham, chicken salad, and eggplant salad more than anything I've had at B&M and other inexpensive Chinese places around the FiDi. I prefer the Sansome St. location because it has decent beer on tap.

                3. What about Tommy Toy's? They have a 5 courses for under $25 lunch special, and they are used to handling a business crowd. It's on Sansome across from the Transamerica building.

                  Lulu's on Folsom? They serve family style, so that might work for a group.

                  Canton Dim Sum is excellent food, not great ambience, but ambience (think Yank Sing) will cost you.

                  15 people around one round table? How do you hear anyone?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: OneMoreCindy

                    Thank you all! I just have to say that I was thrilled by the responses. I also have to say just after I posted the question, I got a call that I had to take in private and like a dope I left my screen showing the chowhound page and my question. Thank goodness no one here pays attention much, because it was a little pissy of me to complain.

                    Re: Mr. Lauriston, I think it's great that you have the institutional memory to retrieve (or surf for, let's face it) an article from 1974. Also enjoyed visiting his/your website. Best pizza list is one I've been trying to find out. I'm very much in agreement about zachary's skippable pies. More cheese is not the answer I tell you. Sauce and bread are the whole point. However, I'm not really a fan of the "Roman" thin crust pizzas. Too stuck on childhood american, fill-er-up style.

                    1. re: civic

                      Filling pizza, try Tommaso's or Little Star.


                      I remember that article was in the New Yorker because (1) I read it at the time, when Hunan was one of my favorite restaurants, and (2) they posted a copy in the window, where it stayed until they moved to Sansome Street, where there's still a copy on the wall.

                      The wall in Tommaso's entryway / waiting area has a collection of reviews dating back maybe 50 years.