Monday, August 20, 2007

Out the Door - how I aDOOR thee!

The Slanted Door is sort of an institution in San Francisco foodie paradise. The Phan family opened the first location of this upscale Vietnamese restaurant in the Mission district in 1995. Twelve years later the restaurant has moved to the Ferry building, and the Phan family has opened two smaller versions of the restaurant - dubbed Out the Door. One branch was opened in the ferry building next to the restaurant, and another in the basement of the brand new mall downtown, below Bloomingdales. The Bloomies location is the one I review here.

Out the Door is one of my favorite places to grab a quick bite to eat in San Fran. The menu is varied with the seasons, and is often a slightly simpler (and less expensive) version of the menu over at the mother ship of Slanted Door. You can be in and out of there in under an hour, and I have never waited more than 10 minutes for a table, even on a busy Friday or Saturday night. Yes, it is in the mall food court, but the restaurant is tucked into a corner and you don't feel like you are in the mall until you step outside again, full of deliciously tasty and fresh vietnamese food.

Some of my favorite items on the menu:

The springrolls here are amazing. They have two types - fresh and crispy. I love the fresh spring rolls with pork, noodles, and shrimp, wrapped in rice paper and spiced with mint and cilantro. Served with a delicious peanut sauce, these are a hit with everyone, always. They offer a veggie version as well.

I think the crispy spring rolls are my favorite. The version I adore is also filled with pork, along with mushrooms and glass noodles. They are perfectly fried, and served with more noodles, lettuce, mint, and a vinegar sweet-and-sour sauce. You wrap a crispy spring roll in the lettuce with some mint and dip in the sauce and HEAVEN. Heaven in spring roll form, for sure.

One of the salads on the menu is so good that my mom is dead set on recreating it at home. It is julliened purple cabbage, jicama, and carrots, tossed with mint and cilantro and slices of grapefruit. The salad is served with a tangy sweet vinaigrette that never overpowers the veggies, and the top is sprinkled with candied walnuts - just enough to add a little crunch.

Tonight we tried delicious egg noodles, stir-fried with chicken and egg and mushrooms and other yummy things. The noodles were perfectly cooked and served extremely hot - they may have been the tastiest noodles I have ever consumed. YUM.

We also tried the heirloom tomato salad. It was pretty par for the course as tomato salads go. Fresh slices of heirloom with marinated thinly-sliced zucchini, and then some cherry tomatoes and crispy-fried shallots. Yummy though not the best thing we ate by far.

Next we moved on to a beef bavette dish - thinly sliced beef, perfectly cooked, and stir-fried with leeks and hot red peppers in a delicious broth. This was served with vermicelli rice, which I love - so fine and perfectly cooked. We ate every bite of this except for those hot little peppers.

A few other things I love when they are on the menu - the eggplant, which is spicy and delicious and perfectly prepared with green onions and coconut milk. The bok choy is also great, stir-fried with shitake mushrooms. The caramelized tiger prawns, sauteed in garlic, onion and chili sauce, are DIVINE. The sauce is so good on more of that rice.

I also love the chrysanthemum iced tea and organic sodas. Out the Door is a great place to eat. The service is generally very good, and I always leave there satisfied and happy and feeling like I had a special, nice meal. Tonight, my brother and his girlfriend and I ate there - 2 salads, 2 spring rolls, noodles, rice, a beef dish, and beverages - for 60 dollars. For as satisfied as I was after, it was a great deal.

Food - (3.5) Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Experience - (3.25)Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Total - (3.5)Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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For yelp reviews of Out the Door, CLICK HERE!

Out the Door - go there!


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