Out The Door Expands, Vietnamese Breakfast For All


In my five years as a San Francisco resident, all of which I've spent living in the Mission, I've never once wished for a place in lower Pacific Heights. Sure, when SPQR first opened I thought about how nice it might be to live around the corner, to pop by for carbonara and a quartino of wine. When Pizzeria Delfina 2 opened, I simply thought, "How nice for those people! A Pizzeria Delfina of their very own!" while happily considering the stools that would free up at the 18th street location.

But with the advent of the new Out the Door on Bush (at Fillmore) I'm kind of wishing that was my 'hood. In my mind Charles Phan occupies some fairy godfather status, a belief that is coroborated by so many restauranteurs and chefs in this town who have worked with or for him, who have called on him for advise, for extra equipment, a helping hand. Not to mention the fact that Phan employs a flotilla of people, many of them Vietnamese, hoards of them his own relatives.

For this latest project, Phan is doing more than just copying his restaurant of the same name in the Westfield Centre. Yes, there will be duplicate dishes (can you imagine the mutiny if they did not serve spring rolls?), but under the tutelage of 32-year-old Grace Nguyen, a Texas-born Postrio veteran who worked with Phan at Slanted Door, this Out the Door will have a character all its own. What really gets me jealous is news that beginning on Thursday, they will serve breakfast every day, including things like beignets and Vietnamese coffee, quiche with "bacon marmalade" (a combination of caramelized onions and bacon lardons, cooked together with vinegar and thyme) and baked coconut buns filled with coconut paste that pastry chef Chucky Dugo makes from scratch. Can you even imagine how much better mornings could be with the aid of Vietnamese coffee and coconut buns? I can—which is, after all, why I'm so jealous of the neighbors. But Mission dwellers, there is hope. Phan still owns the building where the original Slanted Door once lived (on Valencia at 16th), and one can imagine, once the dust settles on this project, he may well be ready to kick up some more.

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