Charles Phan will open the Las Vegas incarnation of his James Beard Award-winning modern Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door on March 2.
Last week, however, he held a pair of VIP previews of the space, even as he and his local team of chefs were putting the finishing touches on the menu.
Guests at last week’s parties enjoyed signature dishes from the San Francisco original, such as cellophane noodles with crab, shaking beef and spring rolls. It wasn’t until Saturday, however, that he and local executive chef Lanny Chin put their stamp of approval on the final menu (which you can view below).
Phan says he’s determined not to simply replicate his Bay Area original on Las Vegas Boulevard.
“One of the things we want to do is not just kind of cookie-cutter, rubber-stamp and just take a Xerox copy from San Francisco.”
It’s also probably safe to say that Phan is a bit of a perfectionist. The restaurant’s location at the Forum Shops at Caesars was originally announced in May 2017, with the promise of a 2018 opening. He insists, however, that the delays were worth it.
“For me it’s really about making sure that we do the right thing,” the chef explains. “We’ve been doing it for 25 years in San Francisco. So people are going to say ‘Oh, it’s not as good as San Francisco.’ They’re gonna compare. (So) the food’s got to be perfect. The room’s got to be perfect. It costs a little bit more money. But if you do it wrong, then the whole thing can implode on you.”
Phan says he opted for minimalist décor for the large dining room because “you’ve already got all the bling” in Las Vegas.
“This is where you chill out and really focus on the food. I don’t want to be an expensive, crappy restaurant. I think my family would disown me — and my staff!”
So what will the food be that his guests will be focusing on? Here’s the complete Slanted Door menu:
Live scallop — blood orange soy, shallots, caviar
Oyster — mignonette, cocktail sauce
Beef tartar — shallot, cilantro, thai chili, shallot oil, prawn chips
Grapefruit & jicama salad — red cabbage, pickled carrot, candied pecan
Green papaya salad — pickled carrot, rau rum, crispy shallot, toasted peanut
Slanted Door spring rolls — wild gulf shrimp, pork, mint, mayo, peanut sauce
Vegetarian spring rolls — tofu, shiitake, cabbage, mint, peanut sauce
Hue dumpling — mung bean tapioca dumpling, scallion oil, thai chili soy sauce
Daikon rice cakes — shiitake mushrooms, shallots, sweet chili soy
B.B.Q. pork spare ribs — pasture pork, hickory smoke, hoisin bbq
Crispy imperial rolls —wild Gulf shrimp, pork shoulder, vermicelli noodle, roasted peanuts
Crispy vegetarian imperial rolls — tofu, taro root, cabbage, vermicelli noodles, roasted peanuts, shiitake mushrooms, shallots, sweet chili soy
Shrimp and squash — Gulf shrimp, chayote squash, garlic
Cellophane noodles — wild Gulf crab, green onion, sesame
Whole fish — wood oven roasted, chili garlic oil, lime fish sauce
Wood oven baked clams — lemongrass, ginger, thai chili, cilantro, lime
Claypot chicken — ginger, shallot, cilantro
Lemongrass chicken — red onion, jalapeno, roasted chili paste, roasted peanuts
Whole roasted duck — cherry wood, five spice aged, plum sauce
Shaking beef — cubed filet mignon, watercress, red onion, lime sauce
Mesquite grilled ribeye — four corners all natural beef, thai chili, soy
Grilled pork chop — charred leek, chili, garlic, soy
Stir fried bok choy — shiitake mushroom, garlic
Tomato eggplant — shallot, thai basil
Yuba noodles — hodo soy yuba, roasted chili, sweet peppers, nameko mushrooms
Pea shoots — dried chili, garlic, sea salt