Seeing as we're about to head out of town again (this time bound for Portland - woot!) I think it's about time I jammed in these last couple of posts about our trip to San Francisco, oh, what - two months ago? In fact, I've been wanting to tell you about this meal for even longer than that - since our first visit in February, when most of these these pictures were taken. After that trip, too much time elapsed, I had other things on my mind and I just didn't get around to it. I also knew I'd be going back again and wanted to wait until I'd visited twice before writing a post. Yes, I know. The things I do for you...
There are three Out the Door locations in the City, all offshoots of Charles Phan's famous Slanted Door at the Ferry Building (bonus points if you remember the original location in the Mission.) The first one is also in the Ferry Building, on the concourse directly behind the restaurant. It's a walkup takeaway stand, with Vietnamese coffee and a few dishes to go (try the bahn mi) as well as take-home kits for making Slanted Door specialties at home. The second location is a full sit-down restaurant at the San Francisco Centre Westfield mall on Market Street, and so is this one, tucked away on Bush Street just South of Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights. Only the Pacific Heights location serves breakfast and brunch, at least as of this writing - and though I've enjoyed the food at all three locations - I especially liked the brunch.
Though it was 10 AM on a Saturday when we visited, I had to order the crispy imperial rolls, the daikon rice cake and the vermicelli noodle bowl, just because I couldn't resist. Regardless of the time of day, there are few things in I would prefer to eat over crispy pork stuffed spring rolls with fresh herbs and sweet fish sauce for dipping, especially when accompanied by grilled shrimp and vermicelli and more of that sauce poured all over... If pressed, I do have to admit the vermicelli dish is not significantly different from those you'll find at other (less expensive) Vietnamese restaurants, but still, it does not disappoint.
If you prefer eggs at that hour of the morning, they are more than happy to accommodate - with traditional eggs and bacon or something more original, like the brisket hash with potatoes, poached eggs and gravy that Brandon ordered.
James went non-traditional with the Beef Pho, which I don't think he'd ever tried before, but he really enjoyed. I'm not a pho person myself so I couldn't really criticize it, but it certainly looked good with all the fresh herb and vegetable add-ins. Sort of along the lines of Menudo, a hot bowl of spicy soup can be very restorative the morning after a late night... or so I'm told.
What really clinched it for me though, was the beignets. Hoo boy, the beignets. Crisp on the outside, light, tender, warm and slightly eggy on the inside - they're better than Boulette's (and you know how I feel about Boulette's.)
They offer Vietnamese coffee with two beignets on their breakfast and brunch menus - two things together that just about form my idea of heaven. Add that to my two favorite things in the world to eat (the aforementioned spring rolls and vermicelli) and not surprisingly, you've pretty well sold me. Add in some original breakfast dishes, a lovely atmosphere (lovely enough to draw Jamie from Mythbusters on our second visit - my only celebrity sighting in San Francisco to date!) and you've got a pretty solid combination in my book.
Out the Door
2232 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94115
reservations recommended for parties larger than 2 (if you don't want to sit at the bar or communal table)