House of Nan King yes/no
This place in Chinatown was recommended to me in glowing terms by someone I don't really know that well. Anyone familiar with it? Is it really that good, or do you have a better choice for serious hardcore authentic Chinese?
I'd say no and I don't consider it serious, hardcore or authentic.
I'd go somewhere like R&G if you're sticking to the Chinatown area.
R & G Lounge
631 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108
It's fondly known in some circles as House of Hoisin Sauce (where they use it repeatedly in virtually everything). Yeah that plus MSG...
While I have nothing against MSG I will agree that it seems pretty heavy on the hoisin. Frankly of the dishes I've tried on each of my two visits there just about everything always managed to taste the same.
I've always been unimpressed, but recently I've been meaning to reevaluate it.
Lots of people, however, do give it glowing reviews and it often seems to do rather well with critics. Glad to know I'm not the only person who felt it was dismissable.
Unless things have changed, it is not hoisin sauce that HONK abuses, but Shanghai "red" sauce which is typically a combination of dark soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, sugar, garlic, and star anise, Combined with a little fat, it's candy to a carnivore (think of a red-coooked pork joint). Peter Fong learned early on that it's dope to us guilaos, and cyncally set out to get us addicted to it.
I once slunk into HONK (with my shades on and collar turned up) craving Shanghai-style chow mein and they served me what could have been an excellent version but was killed by drowning in red sauce literally ladled over it before serving.