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Khai Vietnamese Nouveau

655 Townsend St. Send to Phone
Upscale Vietnamese prix-fixe multi-course tasting menus offered via two seatings each night.

Dinner Tues.-Sat.
  • Dress code: Casual
  • Reservations suggested

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Khai Vietnamese Nouveau, San Francisco, CA

Khai Vietnamese Nouveau Restaurant Review

About the restaurant: With his eponymous restaurant Khai Vietnamese Nouveau, chef Khai Duong brings upscale tasting menu dining to a growing population of premium Asian restaurants on Townsend Street in San Francisco's Design District. A single row of seven tables lines the thin L-shaped room created by a large curtain and bank of windows, evoking the feel of eating in a hallway. Seatings are explicitly limited to 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night, and service begins when the last diners, or the appointed hour, arrives, and everyone is served simultaneously.

Likes: Heritage inspired international flavors, creative presentation, obvious attention to detail.
Dislikes: Covering the kitchen in curtain and the narrow format makes one feel they are eating in a hallway.

Food & Drinks: Courses (10 for $95) are often inspired by Duong's Vietnamese heritage, or leverage interesting spices and products from the region and its borders. Some ingredients are shipped over by his family. A starter seaweed salad, we are told, is from his hometown. Presentations are artful; mushroom pâté is perched on a cluster of coral. Flavors and textures are well integrated while still distinct; fried quail with Saigon spice on a mound of zucca mashed potatoes and butterfish prepared with turmeric, a dish Duong credits to a Hanoi chef he respects, show nicely. Dessert of durian roll with coconut milk is modestly sweet with pleasant tropical notes. A short list of wines, appropriately curated for the food, is available if desired.
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