SF has its fill of regional Chinese restaurants and various Chinese hybrid cuisines from Korean Chinese to Peruvian Chinese. When I think of American Chinese restaurants, I naively think of overlapping menus, with few if any specials truly unique to the chef. What are some of the noteworthy dishes you'll find only at one restaurant in the Bay Area, but not at any other, and certainly not in China?
One that comes to mind is Henry's Hunan "Diana's Special," a sandwich of "Deep-fried flour cakes filled with meat sauce, Parmesan cheese, vegetables [lettuce], onions and condiments" and optionally lathered with a hot sauce containing chiles, black beans, garlic, and ginger. It's a greasy but strangely appealing dish, and more reminiscent of something from a taqueria than what you'd typically find at a Chinese restaurant.
Love them or hate them, the menus at Mission Chinese and House of Nanking fulfill this niche. I would hope there are some 90s style "fusion" places that have something notable too. What about neighborhood Chinese places that don't normally attract Chowhound attention, anything happening there?
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