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PostHeaderIcon The Door: Asian Fusion at Excellent Prices

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Over the years, several restaurants and bars have closed down in the spot where The Door restaurant, serving modern Asian cuisine, sake and soju cocktails, now packs the house.

We hope The Door will be open for a long, long time.

For one, the place is beautiful. Done up by Shanghai-born international design firm, RED, the black and red interior is clean and elegant, while also hip and sleek. Low lighting, gleaming hardwood floors, a sprawling outdoor patio with umbrellas, a waterfall and lanterns make the restaurant ideal for a romantic date or a casual family dinner. Asian inspired décor surrounds the large, half-circle booths, two-seat tables and intimate six-seat bar.

Executive Chef Daniel Sudar, most recently from the Red Lantern in Redwood City and also formerly of the Waterfront Restaurant, One-Market and the Ritz-Carlton, all in San Francisco, has created a menu that is not only unique, tasty and balanced but also amazingly reasonably priced. The Door features food from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and other Asian cultures. The 140-seat restaurant opened in October 2009 after the closure of a Chinese eatery in the same spot.

We started with two salads: the Green Papaya Salad (below) with green papaya, prawns, pomegranate, herbs and sweet lime garlic dressing. If you are looking for your typical lettuce and vegetable mix drenched in dressing, this is not it. This salad (really a meal in itself) uses stringed papaya, a bounty of shrimp and a tangy dressing that brings out the flavors of all the ingredients. Price: $7.

My husband had the Korean Green Apple Salad with a bed of sprouts, chicken, herd and smoked chili vinaigrette, which had a bit of a kick to it. Price: $8.

Salads of this quality and portion size would typically run $10-12 in similar restaurants in the East Bay.

For an appetizer, we had the Chicken Mushroom Lettuce Wraps, a Thai favorite that we’ve eaten in many restaurants around Contra Costa County. The lettuce wraps are the best we’ve had –anywhere. The chicken and mushroom mix was hot and seasoned with faro, water chestnuts, chives and garlic. It was served with plenty of large pieces of iceberg lettuce for making your own wraps. We had plenty leftover to take home for lunch the next day.

As a treat, the manager brought us a watermelon cucumber salad with shaved watermelon ice, and sea salt. This is a new addition to the menu and great palate cleanser before dinner. The salt on the watermelon and cucumber brought out their naturals flavors.

For dinner, we shared the Steamed Chilean Sea Bass with sautéed mushrooms, fermented black bean and ginger relish. The sea bass was like a mix between lobster and halibut—not too fishy, but melt-in-your-mouth buttery. It was served with perfectly-cooked white rice. Price: $17. Amazing.

Other dinners include: Kluwak Beef, Beef Rendang, Wok Tossed Tilapia, Galangal Chicken, Thai Rice Noodles and Gulai Kambing (goat curry). Dishes range from $12 to $16.

Smaller plates, such as Chicken Sate, Pork Belly, Mustard Shrimp, Lumpia Crispy Vegetable Eggrolls Steamed Little Dragon Pork Dumplings and Gyoza Seared Dumplings range in price from $7 to $9.

But between 3 and 6 p.m. and again between 8:30 p.m. and closing, The Door offers a "Street Bites" menu with $3.50 beers and wine by the glass and an array of appetizers, including many mentioned above for $3 to $5. The Street Bites menu (and prices) is also offered from noon to 6 p.m. on weekends.

The Door offers an extensive selection of desserts, dessert wines, side dishes and a full lunch menu, where all entrees are $9 or less.

The Door is located at 1448 South Main Street. There is a parking lot and street parking available. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thurs. to Sun. and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 925-930-8088 or visit www.thedoorrestaurant.com. --KB

Last Updated (Tuesday, 22 March 2011 02:37)


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