Friday, April 06, 2012

Dinner @ Out the Door

Out the Door is part of the Charles Phan Restaurant Group (of Slanted Door fame).  The Out the Door chain consists of a kiosk style version in the Ferry Building, a currently closed casual version in the Westfield Mall, and a slightly swankier casual version in Pacific Heights.  They all feature many of the same dishes as Slanted Door, just at a lower price point.

I've really enjoyed the take home cooking kits and the baked goods from the Out the Door in the Ferry Building.  A couple weeks ago I had some of their regular items as take out, and they were pretty solid. And several years ago, I used to go to the one in the mall fairly regularly, and found it to generally be pretty reliable, good quality ingredients, decently prepared.  So tonight, we needed a quick dinner, and were in the area, so we dropped into the Out the Door in Pacific Heights for dinner.  I'd been there for brunch before and thought it was pretty good, but hadn't ever been in for dinner.

It wasn't an enjoyable experience.  It was really cold inside.  The chairs were hard and uncomfortable.  The restaurant was so loud, even though there were only a handful of occupied tables.  I don't know how they managed to have such horrible acoustics, I guess all of the swanky looking hard surfaces just really didn't absorb sound.  We really couldn't hear each other talking, at all.  The food was expensive, horribly seasoned, ridiculously skimpy in the proteins, and just not good.  I won't be going back.
Asparagus soup with dungeness crab, egg, chives, sesame. $7.
It is asparagus season!  I've been enjoying so many simple preparations of asparagus lately.  Fresh asparagus just has such great flavor.  And I love crab.  I was so excited to see this dish!  And then I tasted it ...

The soup was lukewarm.  My dining companion tried to look on the bright side of things saying that it was kinda nice to not need to blow on the soup.  I thought it was definitely served too cold.  It had exactly two chunks of crab in it, plus a few tiny shreds.  Seriously lacking in the crab department.  It had no flavor, besides salt.  And salt it had plenty of.  Way over-salted.  Absolutely no asparagus flavor.  I'm also not sure where the egg was, I guess mixed in?  I didn't see nor taste it.

Would never order again, any generic can of soup would have been better than this.
Dungeness crab, cellophane noodles, green onion, sesame oil.  $20.
The Out the Door in the mall had this dish on the menu, and I always ordered it.  I loved it.  There was always plentiful crab and great flavors.  This however, was certainly not the same dish.  Very oily noodles, no flavor, barely any crab.  Here again, there were exactly two chunks of crab, plus a a few shreds mixed in.  There was no flavor to this dish, at all, besides the sesame oil.  No seasoning.  The crab was completely flavorless as well.  We paid $20 for essentially a plate of rice noodles.  Seriously, WTF?    
Hodo Soy Beanery yuba, fava leaves, black trumpet mushrooms, green garlic, glass noodles. $14.
It turns out that "glass noodles" and "cellophane noodles" are exactly the same thing.  So while these dishes sounded a little different on the menu, they weren't really.  This one was considerably better than the crab noodles, but that isn't saying much at all. The fava leaves were nice and bitter, the mushrooms a little earthy, so they at least added a little flavor to the dish.  There also seemed to be some soy sauce in this one.  I love yuba, so I somewhat enjoyed the yuba itself.  But overall, this was just another big pile of really greasy noodles.  It was also pretty hard to eat, with the yuba, mushrooms, and fava leaves all just in big clumps on top.
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