Last night all the local food writers and friends of Charles Phan filled both levels of his latest project, Wo Hing General Store. The new Asian street food restaurant epicly marks Phan's return to the original Slanted Door location he abandoned nearly a decade ago. As you can semi-grasp from the phone snap here, the layout hasn't changed much. The space skews long-and-narrow, including major touch-ups a la Olle Lundberg, who does all Phan's properties. As far as press events go, the event was well-attended, the mood was casual, and preview bites from chef Michelle Mah's future menu flowed abundantly. For the next week leading up to a planned October 28th opening, the space will be off-the-radar again as it jumps through the city's final hoops. But you can still hop on through for a slew of notes from the night that was.
· A colored light installation above the door and close-to-the-ground repurposed live edge wood tables call The Slanted Door's design to mind. People probably talked most about the huge paintings by local artist Judy North, the repurposed bus stop glass around the mezzanine, and the long ground level bar that makes great use of a repurposed bowling alley.
· Joining the journalists in town were a lot of local restaurant people. Craig Stoll popped over from Delfina. Tacolicious co-owner Joe Hargrave paid his respects. Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Terra, Bar Terra and Ame also made the trip from St. Helena.
· Chef Michelle Mah kept a wide variety of bites in line as they poured steadily from the kitchen throughout the course of the night. Favorites included shu mai, yuba with mushrooms, xiao long bao, skewered meats, and little spoons filled alternately with nutty wheat noodles and lighter rice noodles.
· Pastry chef Chuck Dugo is making bold moves on the dessert menu, inspired by his recent sojourn in Asia. "There's no chocolate on the menu," he says. Creamy, custardy textures rule. His bites last night: a spoon of sheep's milk yogurt with preserved orange and wheat beer, and mini homemade sesame mochi and vanilla cream roulades.
· Bar manager Brooke Arthur fueled the show with a varied list of drinks that weren't so Asian, which was totally fine by everybody. Partygoers sipped on a "Laughing Water" made with rye, vermouth, pineapple and cinnamon, a dry sherry punch with cucumber and crushed ice and straight up piña coladas. All of the drinks were served in atypical vintage glasses found at thrift stores around town.
· The room stayed busy well past the described 7:30 end time. On the way home, everyone was gifted with a Charles Phan ramen kit for one, complete with noodles, broth and a little slab of pork.
· All Wo Hing General Store Coverage [~ ESF ~]