Fine diners rejoice.
After months of development, the critically acclaimed and highly anticipated Vietnamese cuisine-inspired restaurant, the Slanted Door: San Ramon by chef Charles Phan, is set to open its doors to guests in City Center Bishop Ranch on Wednesday evening.
Reservations are now being accepted for the second Slanted Door located in the Bay Area, which Phan says will serve a whole new experience to guests.
“For us it is really about bringing a piece of San Francisco to the East Bay with the Slanted Door. We're not taking anything for granted. We are really pushing the envelope and doing some new and interesting things,” Phan said of his new restaurant. “We also don't want to rubber stamp what we've done in San Francisco for 23 years. We really want to do something new.”
Born in Vietnam, Phan immigrated to the U.S. with his family after the end of the Vietnam War. In 1995 he opened his flagship Slanted Door in San Francisco's Mission District, and has since opened four other restaurants across the Bay Area and one in Las Vegas.
While San Ramon will be building off the success of his San Francisco location, Phan stressed that the Slanted Door in City Center will be its own restaurant. The majority of the dishes will be new creations independent from the menu in San Francisco, but die-hard foodies may recognize some classics have been be sprinkled in.
New to the San Ramon location is a whole section on Vietnamese street foods that includes gau choy gow (wild gulf shrimp and green garlic chive dumplings), daikon rice cakes (shiitake mushrooms, shallots and sweet chili soy) and banh nam (banana leaf wrapped rice dumpling with pork, dried shrimp and garlic).
Also unique to the San Ramon location is the Vietnamese barbecue pork spare ribs made with honey-hoisin sauce, while ribs are available in the San Francisco location, San Ramon's are uniquely prepared with a Texas J&R smoker.
The restaurant itself is a 7,500-square-foot space, designed by Lundberg Design, that is encased on all four sides by glass, creating a glass box that will enable diners to view the happenings of City Center and visitors on the outside to view the inside layout of the restaurant.
Not only will diners have views of City Center itself but also of the chefs and their creations. All of the Slanted Door’s operations including its dual cook-lines, bar, chef’s counter and the food prep area will be in plain view of guests.
Phan predicted that the bar area surrounding the kitchen will become particularly popular for guests who want to see the action of the kitchen up close.
Phan told DanvilleSanRamon.com he was first inspired by the design of City Center and attracted to the contemporary stylings of its architect and designer Renzo Piano.
“We have met the bishop ranch folks and they are amazing and I think the City Center is amazing,” Phan said gushing over his restaurants new location. “I literally came here because of these folks, I saw that they were building something really beautiful with Piano’s (design).”
Bishop Ranch developers seem just as excited to have the Slanted Door join their ranks, and expect Phan’s restaurant to become a regional draw for the retail complex.
“The Slanted Door is one of the finest restaurants in the country and is being lured by so many projects – we consider it an extreme complement that they have chosen to join in our vision to build a truly outstanding project,” said Alexander Mehran Jr., president and chief operating officer of Sunset Development Company, developer of City Center. “Charles Phan is an innovative chef with an international point of view. His appreciation for design and architecture adds to the experience in all of his restaurants.”
Finding suitable staff has previously been an issue for the Phan, particularly at his San Francisco, but he has acknowledged many of his employees as well as guests already live in the East Bay, hopefully making staffing San Ramon a little easier.
“For us it's really about finding the right person, people that care… and I have no worry that we will find our family. We just have to pay them really good,” he said with a laugh.
To help lead his family Phan has selected chef Dong Choi to serve as San Ramon’s chef de cuisine. Born in Seoul South Korea, Choi received no formal culinary training, but has built his career by cooking for acclaimed chefs across the country and abroad. Most recently he helped open and run the Rice & Bones restaurant in Berkeley, another of Phan’s restaurants.
Phan is confident staffing will come together, while it does he is focused on completing the “thousand little things” he will need to get just right before he is ready to open the Slanted Door.
“Imagine you move into your apartment: you don't know where the glasses are, you don't know where your wines are, or where your whiskey is. So it's a matter of getting (everything) in place and getting it all working. The contractor built the building but everything else you need to put it in place,” he said. “But I’m excited about the team here and I'm excited to be in the East Bay.”
The Slanted Door opens for diners Wednesday, 5:30 to 10 p.m., the bar opens at 4 p.m. It is located on the south east corner of City Center Bishop Ranch, 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1300, directly underneath the LOT Cinema.