Out The Door: Scaling Down But Still Shining in Shopping Mall [CLOSED]

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Restaurant San Francisco

Out The Door gives Westfield San Francisco Centre's food court a boost.

After Charles Phan relocated The Slanted Door to the Ferry Building in April 2004, his Vietnamese restaurant proved so popular that he installed a takeout counter around the corner to keep pace with demand. The developers of the Westfield San Francisco Centre must have liked his “Out The Door” concept. They struck a deal with Phan to open a second Out The Door in their shopping mall’s upscale food court. In fall 2006, he opened a second Out The Door, but never one to keep playing the same hand, Phan added some bonus features.

Up front, there’s a takeout counter with a back-lit blue menu touting salads, sandwiches and noodles – dry and in soups. A retail area with a communal table features ingredients, cookbooks and implements, for home use. The dining room offers everything on the takeout menu and more, plus impressive design.

Restaurant San Francisco

77 honey-filled back-lit glass panels, ranging from amber to brown, are impressive to see and highly original.

Vietnamese Food San Francisco

Charles Phan incorporated some of his long-time classics, including a grapefruit and jicama salad with red cabbage and candied pecans ($7.50). This salad works thanks to its crunch and citrus-sweet blend.

Banh Mi San Francisco

Saigon roast pork sandwich ($8) featured tender pork slices, fresh cilantro, crisp cucumbers and tangy pickled carrots. I don’t know that it’s any better than the $2 version served at dingy Saigon Sandwich on Larkin, but this banh mi is still worth ordering.

Vietnamese Food San Francisco

Shrimp and pork wonton soup with egg noodles ($9.50) was an upscale take on pho, the well-spiced Vietnamese noodle soup.

Vietnamese Food San Francisco

Alaskan halibut ($11.50) was tossed with turmeric, peanuts, fresh dill and pineapple-anchovy sauce and plated over rice vermicelli. I ate a version where the dish was invented, at Cha Ca La Vong in Ha Noi, and Out The Door’s compared pretty well. Cha Ca La Vong used sea bass instead of halibut, and plenty of butter instead of nouveau pineapple-anchovy sauce, but it was basically the same idea.

Vietnamese Food San Francisco

Rice noodles stir-fried with chicken, shiitake mushrooms, mung bean sprouts and egg ($9.50) were seemingly simple, but packed plenty of flavor.

Lemonade San Francisco

I drank a glass of fresh lemonade ($2.50) with a slice of lime, nice and refreshing.

I never expected to find such good food in a mall food court, but Charles Phan has once again defied the odds. Out The Door isn’t as ambitious as the original, but never claimed to be, and the original never had honey-filled panels.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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