This is a lovely, satisfying soup, especially in cold weather, but you should make sure you have it before the spicy stuff starts coming, or it could seem lost and pale.
And the spicy stuff is spicy, although the heat is well-controlled, like a 104 mph fastball that shaves the outside corner at the knees. Henry's special seafood dish ($10.50), a mélange of scallops, shrimp, and chunked chicken breast tossed with carrot coins and tabs of water chestnut, takes its charge from red chili garlic paste, whose distinctive flavor tends to be a little dominant. If you like that flavor, you'll like it here.
More subtle is spicy curry show main ($7.50), which can be had with chicken, pork, beef, or vegetables. I am wary of curry dishes in Chinese restaurants; too often they taste of canned curry powder, which too often tastes mostly of can a metallic harshness that overwhelms neighboring flavors, as a huge ugly building can cut off the sun to buildings around it. But Henry's curry seasoning, though almost certainly a powder (to judge by the yellow tint it imparts to the noodles: a sign of turmeric), has an attractively rounded flavor that accepts the presence of other ingredients (meat, slivered scallions, julienne red bell pepper) and doesn't stomp on them.
The dish (like Henry's seafood special) is marked on the menu with a chili pepper a sign of either welcome or warning, depending on your views about heat but the kitchen will dial down the chili charge on request. Your server will ask you how hot you like it, along a range from mild to tankard-banging.
HENRY'S HUNAN RESTAURANT
Daily, 11 a.m.10 p.m.
1708 Church, SF
Beer and wine
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