919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9413337.796451 -122.405337
Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat noon-10pm; Sun noon-9pm
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Chinatown
I just gave House Of Nanking a 'Recommend' at Citysearch
For adventurous souls only – Thought we'd have to wait forever on the SantaCon Saturday night just before 8 pm but ended up in a pocket and got in pretty quickly. Fortunately the owner came over to take our order, and when he heard that this was our first time he offered to create our dinner. My friend, who isn't an adventurous eater, agreed and the rest is history.
We weren't real hungry, so he created a soup around my crustacean allergy that my friend loved (a fish soup with wonton, tofu and cellophane noodles and an unique spectacular beef salad with tomatoes and mushrooms.
The owner/chef is a maestro - creating as his mood strikes, as well as how he reads his customer. He demands respect in the traditional Chinese way, but deserves it. He's good.
What a treat. I can't wait to go back and see what he conjures up next.
This restaurant is cutting edge and for adventurous souls. It's also cash only.
Side note: I don't understand some of the bad reviews I've read here. This is NOT a white tablecloth/gloved service experience. There are plenty of other places (R&G down the street is excellent and fits that model) to go to for that without dissing this place.
If you're hungry - DON'T GO to House of Nanking – Asked the server what she recommends... in her accent - told us that we were eating the food and that we needed to decide what we wanted. We ordered and asked if she thought that was enough food for our party. She said she didn't know what we would eat. Food was good but drinks were not what we ordered and we never got the ice we requested. When we tried to pay with a debit card, the server said they prefer cash. We asked if they take credit cards, she said yes but would rather have cash.
We paid the exact amount of the check - with the cash we pulled together and walked down the street and had a lovely dinner at McDonalds.
Not so good – It is strictly Asian fusion food. Menu is Chinese but the food is strictly Asian fusion with Thai spices. Limited choices, long wait lines, cash-only, no customer service.
Sorry, I don't see the attraction – Next to my one star CitySearch says "Eh". No. Not "Eh". Not even close to "Eh". This was really bad, to the point where I 'm goin to tell the hotel concierge to stop sending people here.
Service was very slow, and when someone finally took my order and brought food, it tasted like it came from Panda Express. But Panda Express doesn't make my tummy feel like this.
great fun and great food – The food is wonderful, however, it is best to tell the server that you would like a meal and what you don't eat (ex. "I vegetarian") and let them bring you whatever they choose...at least that is how it used to be. Once when I was there a guy sat next to me and ordered Chow Mein. The owner said to him "you no wait in line to come in here and order chow mein, you go next, order chow mein" and brought him something else.
I Do Not See the Attraction Here – I just do not get why people are so crazy about this place? I have been here a few times, and it is ALWAYS the same experience:
* Cramped, long tables elbow to elbow with strangers. Forget having a conversation there.
* LOUSY LOUSY LOUSY service. Ask for anything and you get a dirty look and a rushed, annoyed response. They never return to your table except to bring food, and collect the check.
* Expensive, white people safe, Asian style food. Maybe that is why people rave. If you want safe, this is the place.
* Did I mention expensive? 4 people, 5 dishes, two teas and one beer was $80 before tip. Green tea is $2 per person for a large beer mug filled with hot water and a tea bag hanging on the edge.
* Did I mention the bad service?
* Everything seeps to be deep fried. They would deep fry the rice if the could figure it out. Even the pot-stickers were deep fried!
Ambience: You come in, you are crammed into a long table of other people, they throw a menu at you, start suggesting dishes, eventually say they will "take care of you" and take away the menu. Then, they will just start brining you food. Be careful, they will keep bringing it if you do not say stop.
We started with Calamari. It was deep fried, but not crispy as it was sitting in a pool of oil. The size of the dish was rather small given its large price tag. Next we had the Sesame Chicken, their special dish. This was basically deep fried clumps of chicken in a tangy sauce served with sweet potato slices. The chicken was more deep fried batter than chicken, but it was tasty. We had fish fillet nanking style. Again, deep fried pieces of fish with some vegetables. OK, not great. The house noodles were a sticky, oily, slightly spicy noodle in a bowl with chunks of deep fried chicken placed on top. Pass, it is not good.
While it rates moderate at $11 to $30 per person, the dishes are on the small side, and $20 a head for Chinese is expensive, not moderate/
Summary: This place has buzz , but I think it is left over from a previous time when it used to be better. I find it noisy and cramped, with bad service and mediocre food at best, and way too expensive for what you get.
great food – Great food. Had onion cakes, calamari, and some fish something or other, and it was all great.
Incredible Food & Dining Experience – Was visiting SF and was having drinks at the The Clift bar. As we were leaving we asked a bellman where he would go eat Chinese. He sent us to The House. When we got there we started to walk in when a little lady shooed us out and told us to wait behind line outside. We walked out and there was a line painted on the sidewalk. So we waited and she came out and go us. We ordered off the menu's like virgins do. Only to see the owner stop our server and give him a new order for us. When the food came it was incredible. I can't wait to get back to SF for many reasons, but The House will be one of my first stops.
Great Food/Amusing Service – I have been eating at The House for about 20 years. We live out of town now, but get to go about every 2 years. The food is consistently great, the service is consistently amusing (think no nonsense). If you are looking for formal dining, this i not the place for you. Conditions are cramped and dingy, but it's all about the food. Do yourself a favor, DO NOT ORDER OFF THE MENU. Tell the owner/waiter to "hook me up". I usually ask for sea bass and the hook up, and they always deliver. Prices seem comparable to other restaurants.
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