Tuesday, January 10, 2012

O is for: Out the Door {Restaurant Review}

As you get older, birthdays aren't as big of a deal. These days, my idea of a perfect birthday: good food, a bottle of wine, and my closest friends. A festive candle never hurts either.

Monday, we celebrated my friend Kim's birthday with at Out the Door. Being how close it is to my apartment, I'm surprised I haven't been until now. Out the Door is basically the more casual version of Slanted Door, the San Francisco staple at the Ferry Building. But the great thing about OTD is they have three different locations, and you can get a lot of the same dishes in a more casual setting.

(And if you want a candle in your chocolate chestnut torte, they will cheerfully oblige.)

To start, we ordered vegetarian spring rolls, which were stuffed with tofu, shiitake mushrooms, green cabbage and carrots...and served with a side of spicy peanut sauce, which we proceeded to dump all over our rolls. The order came with three rolls...so we each got one. Nothing special from what you would get at any other Vietnamese or Thai restaurant, so $10 seemed a little steep, but they were still very tasty.

The Dungeness Crab Cellophane Noodles also appear on the Slanted Door menu and are on 7x7's list of 100 Things to Try Before You Die. They cost the same at both places ($20), so I'm guessing it's pretty much the same dish at each place.. These were probably the favorite at the table...but we all agreed they totally skimped in the crab department, especially given the price. Step up the crab, and I'm on board with it being one of the top dishes in San Francisco.

We got two claypots...this one was wild prawns with lemongrass and caramel sauce. I love me some spicy, but this had some serious kick to it. Be prepared to handle the heat if you decide to get this, and definitely order a side of rice to soak up some of the delicious (yet firey) sauce.

And finally, we got the chicken claypot. We ordered this because we mistakenly thought it was the chicken porridge, which also appears on the 7x7 list. But upon doing further research for this post, I realized the porridge is only offered on the brunch and lunch menus. The chicken claypot was still very good, and you get a ton of chicken. I loved the caramel sauce...it was very similar to the shrimp dish, but not as spicy so the rich flavors were easier to enjoy. I'll definitely be back at lunch to try the porridge as that seems to be the star here aside from the crab noodles. Overall, I liked the place a lot, but it's definitely a little on the expensive side for what you get.

{UPDATE}: Last time my mom was in town, we headed to Out the Door for breakfast/lunch. She's been wanting to go to Slanted Door for awhile now, but they were booked. The good news is, I finally got to try the famous chicken porridge, which is only served at lunch and brunch on the weekends. I can see why it's described as the perfect hangover food. It's warm and salty and comes topped with crispy shallots and sliced Chinese donuts (think savory, not sweet). This would be perfect on a chilly San Francisco day (and we have plenty of those around here).

We also got Imperial Rolls and the soft scrambled eggs with Dungeness crab. The rolls came with sort of make-your-own lettuce wrap fixings with lettuce, mint leaves and a tangy sauce. Having dined here both at night and during the day, I would almost prefer this as a daytime spot for the porridge and Vietnamese coffee. Still need to get to Slanted Door though! One of these days, Mom, I promise.

1 comment:

  1. I don't mean to be anonymous. I'm @RednGold1 on twitter. Born in SF, I now receive your blogs in my email. I now live in Lincoln, CA east of Sacramento. Love to dine out vicariously in SF thru your entries. Had to comment on this one. Chocolate Chestnut Torte. It's just not fair. Please, can I have a bite? Not my birthday, but put the candle on it. I really want a bite. Outstanding posts over and over again.


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