Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:Charlie Phan is amazing in Out the Door and Slanted Door in San Francisco's Ferry Building. But it's in the Embarcadero, and not everyone can get there. Least of all us lovers of Vietnamese food who happen to not know their way around Oakland. Where do we go? In a not-so-savory neighborhood which is a a sort of dead zone between the Mission, Castro, and the Tenderloin - but that's another review.
1148 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
Review by SuSu, MaceVindaloo, Diasala, Lizzard, KBoo, Don
Phan opened Heaven's Dog close to there in a part of town that is slowly gentrifying. Perhaps he is visionary. So we went, and were sorely disappointed.
We invited people we wanted to impress - there were six of us in all - and thought this pretty ikebana-esque decorated place would be good for that. The wine and drinks guy (wouldn't call him a sommelier, because he was casual and not snooty!) helped me find a drink I'd like when we discovered they don't have a lot of things on their bar menu. Our conclusions - they are show-offs.
Same with the food - show-off stuff. The selection comprised sort of tapas sized dishes, meant to be shared. Rice came in white or brown, and had to be purchased separately. We ordered just about everything, but we needn't have - it all kind of tasted the same. Sure, there were some delicious things … but I can't recall what they were, even with photos.
I found myself resenting that I was paying for bokchoy to be slices linguini-like, or pretty plates with not much food on them. And the price was expensive - six of us cost over $300 for a meal that was not filling nor memorable.
Plus, why name a Vietnamese restaurant after an animal that Americans had jokes that Asians eat, to our disgust? There were no dogs as viands here, but the meats were so mild in flavor that if they got a really clean young dog, could we tell the difference?
There is a Noodle Shop adjacent to the restaurant. It's a kitchen with a stainless steel counter running down its length. We sorely wished we'd hung out in there instead.
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