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A Journey Through the Menu at Henry's Hunan

SF Weekly provides some of America's best restaurant reviews. But we don't always use them in deciding what to eat. They're incomplete. Not that it's unhelpful to learn that one dish contains crisp yet creamy croquettes of crab, or that another is disappointingly dull chicken stew. But what's one to make of all the unmentioned platters in between? Thankfully, S.F. software engineer Moss Gross has taken all the guesswork out of dining out -- as long as you're dining at the Chinese place next to the Hall of Justice, Henry's Hunan Restaurant, at 1016 Bryant St. Gross' opus, "A Journey Through the Menu at Henry's Hunan," is a series of thoroughly researched reviews of all 78 items on the menu. He spent the better part of a year lunching at Henry's, eating each dish in the order it appears on the menu, photographing each dish before tucking in. The result may not be much help for deciding on a restaurant, but it's invaluable for making decisions once you've settled on Henry's. An extra bonus: The reviews also narrate the saga of one man's yearlong journey as he battles to fulfill a promise to himself. Here's a taste of Item #76, Shrimp Fried Rice: "[T]he entire left side ... of the Shrimp Fried Rice had no shrimp in it. Should have called it Half Shrimp Fried Rice. Other than that, it is ok. Next one [Combination Fried Rice] will be OK and then finally there is Diana's Meat Pie and this ordeal, quest, project, undertaking -- whatever you want to call it -- will be over with and I can come in here and order ANYTHING I WANT!"

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