Chef/Restaurateur Charles Phan is a household name among Bay Area foodies, and any place he opens is pretty much a guaranteed success. I'm happy to say that this is because he continuously puts out delicious food and not because of any food-centric dogmatic obligation. The man is good. My favorite of his ventures is still Heaven's Dog, but I was very pleased with what we ate last night at his latest incarnation: Out the Door on Bush Street. We ordered a few starters, a few veggies, and some rice, and it was plenty. (Forgive the pics, btw. I forgot my camera and had to use the iphone.)
Hitting the table first were the spring rolls. You get pretty big portion for $8 and these are not your ordinary spring rolls. Filled with all sorts of tasty veggies in at least 10 variations of crunchy, these puppies are served with the tastiest peanut sauce there ever was. It is slightly sweet with a hint of kick and so good that I kept the leftovers after the rolls were gone and dunked some of the tofu in it. Mmmmm.
Speaking of the tofu, the OTD offering is fried organic goodness with lemongrass, mushrooms and chilis. Layers of flavor are used here to create a perfect tofu dish. We devoured it.
And it gets better! Our two favorite dishes of the evening were the green papaya salad and the spicy cauliflower. The former we ordered sans fish sauce, and it certainly didn't need it. The combo of the papaya itself with rau ram and peanuts, not to mention the other million ingredients, was divine and refreshing. Still, the cauliflower was the star of the evening. Phenomenal flavor in the form of chilis, soy, and mushroom coat these florets and render them heavenly. Don't go to Out the Door without trying this dish.
We also had some really good kale (though not as good as Gracias Madre) and daikon rice cakes that neither of us were too fond of. They were kind of oily and gooey and just not that pleasant.
That being said, we didn't even come close to ordering all the veganizable options. Since it's in our neighborhood, we'll definitely be back to check it out again in the future. I recommend everyone else check it out too.
In the meantime, my friend (and one of my favorite eating buddies) from Boston is headed to SF this weekend and we'll be hitting up a bunch of old haunts and trying a brandy new spot as well. Stay tuned!