Thanks to Carter for recommending this Hunan restaurant which is actually called Crown Cafe. It reminds me quite a bit of Chung King, both in the look of the restaurant and some of the menu items which Hunan and Szechwan cuisine have in common. Dozens of handwritten Chinese signs for specials on the wall were taunting me, but we decided to just point at the stuff that looked good on other people's tables. One thing that looked great was egg with diced chiles, but I just didn't feel like having a huge pile of scrambled eggs for dinner so we passed. We had diced chicken with chiles, which nearly every table seemed to have. Less spicy than the Chung King version, and perhaps more tasty with lots of fried garlic. It doesn't have that intense chile endorphin rush that I personally crave, but not that many other people seem to agree, at least not the people I dine with. We also had garlic shoots with smoked pork, similar to the leeks with smoked pork we had once at Chung King. This version had a really nice smoky, slightly spicy sauce and there were plenty of non-fatty pieces of bacon. Most of the tables had whole fish but with just two of use, we decided on tofu with hot and sour sauce instead. The silky, non-spicy tofu was a nice foil to the other dishes, with a pungent ground pork sauce. This place was great, although I have to say, the flavors are not subtle and the sauces are a little too oily. It's homestyle kind of food, I think -- there aren't really any appetizers on the menu, and no noodles either. The host speaks English, but the menu seems to be full of errors -- everything we pointed to on the menu, he laughed and said "oh, not tofu with chile, really chicken with chile!" So make sure what you're ordering is really what you're ordering. Someone mentioned the fried mushrooms, which sounded great, but he said they were all out. They do have beer. Three excellent, good-sized dishes, rice and tea came to $27.
1000 S. San Gabriel Blvd.
photos and phone no. on the blog.