Locally renowned chef-restaurateur Charles Phan branches out from his modern Vietnamese style with the opening of this Chinese small plates and noodle bar at the SoMa Grand..
Having garnered almost every accolade possible at The Slanted Door, superchef Charles Phan's confidence must be at an all-time high; this latest venture's strange name and subprime SoMa no-man's-land location--not to mention this being Phan's first foray into Chinese cuisine--smell almost like a self-imposed challenge. Divided into five small but distinct sections (lounge, bar area, eating nook, glass-walled semi-private dining room, plus a lunch-hour noodle bar), the Olle Lundberg-designed interior is highlighted by a wall woven out of strips of maple and steel and a bar fashioned from a magnificent 28-foot slab of cypress. The crowd of chic 30-somethings graze on upscale Chinese small plates, wok-fare and noodle dishes, some of which bring big flavor, most of which come in tiny portions. Bolstering and perhaps eclipsing the food is a list of pre-Prohibition cocktails concocted by a mixologist dream team, featuring artisanal spirits and mixers and ice from a Kool Draft machine for the perfect coldness-to-water-melt ratio.