First Look: Inside San Ramon’s highly-anticipated The Slanted Door

28 December 2018

Charles Phan is weeks away from opening The Slanted Door in City Center Bishop Ranch, and when he does, East Bay diners can finally indulge in genre-defining modern Vietnamese fare without a bridge or tunnel getting in the way.

When it first opened in 1994 in San Francisco’s Mission district (and before moving to the Ferry Building in 2004), The Slanted Door’s shaking beef and cellophane noodles were among the most talked-about dishes in San Francisco. Phan earned accolades, including a James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant, in 2014.

Now, Phan’s expansion to the East Bay (and soon to Las Vegas) will no doubt cement the Tri-Valley as a dining destination. At press time, the restaurant was eyeing an early January opening. We popped into the San Ramon opening party on Dec. 22. Here’s what it was like inside.

THE VIBE: Olle Lundberg designed the 7,500-square-foot rectangular space with 14-foot glass walls so even passers-by can witness the action going on in the massive, horseshoe-shaped exhibition kitchen, which features a wood-fired oven, grill and smoker. It’s ultra-modern with seating for 180 — and no color other than neutral accents, such as charred-wood cladding and Carrera marble-topped tables. Expect a loud and lively dining experience.

THE FOOD: The menu is supposed to remain close to San Francisco’s. The opening party featured bite-sized nibbles but we got to sample a few Slanted Door classics from chef de cuisine Dong Choi, including Spicy Ahi Tuna Tartare with cucumber, radish, sesame and lemongrass ponzu on a rice cracker ($20), and the Slanted Door Spring Rolls stuffed with gulf shrimp, pork, mint and shallot mayonnaise with peanut sauce ($14).

Be sure to order a round of Barbecue Pork Spareribs with scallion, cilantro and honey-hoisin sauce ($22) and wash everything down with a thirst-quenching Ginger Limemade ($14) made with Hangar One kaffir lime vodka, ginger and fresh lime ($14). You already know about the Cellophane Noodles ($26) tossed with sesame oil and Dungeness crab. Swoon.

PERFECT FOR… Double-date night, an evening out with the 10-and-older kids, an impress-your-East Bay client dinner and, of course, a chance to sate your caramelized rare filet mignon (aka shaking beef) cravings.

DETAILS: City Center Bishop Ranch, 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1300, San Ramon

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