20 cheap eats for under $20 in San Francisco
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16. Out the Door( Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )
We almost missed this trendy restaurant when we drove by it. Not surprising, since there's no sign. If you look closely at the glass entrance, you'll see three letters: OTD. That's all.
Restaurateur Charles Phan doesn't believe in signage, said manager Johnny Reinert. "The reputation is such that his restaurants don't need it," Reinert said.
Phan's empire includes six restaurants, including three OTD cafes, at the less expensive end of the scale. Phan also runs the Slanted Door, a popular — and pricey — modern Vietnamese restaurant in the Ferry Building.
OTD features Vietnam-inspired cuisine too and was originally designed for takeout only — thus the name Out the Door. The two other locations cater mainly to takeout orders. But the Bush Street café is cool and contemporary, like the beautifully presented dishes it serves.
OTD's dinner prices put it out of our range, but it makes our cut earlier in the day. The chicken pho we ordered was hearty ($10), the green papaya salad was light ($9) and the shrimp rolls were crispy ($8). This trio of dishes amply served two. And the food ranked among our favorites.