The Slanted Door - San Francisco, California
This will be my final post from my recent trip to San Francisco. I hope you all enjoyed my adventures in the city by the bay, I had a great time sharing my experiences with all of you.
From the time I found out that I was going to visit San Francisco up until the time I was actually in the city, I tried, and tried, to get a dinner reservation at The Slanted Door. Unfortunately for me, the restaurant was booked solid. If I wanted to, I could have gotten a reservation for a late lunch (2:00 pm) on Sunday, but since I was doing lots of running around, I didn't want to hang around for that long.
It was finally my last day in the city and I still hadn't gone to eat at the Slanted Door. I called the restaurant and was told that they open at 11:00 am. I asked about lunch and was advised that they weren't taking any reservations for that day, but I was told that I could sit at the bar and order lunch which I thought would be fine. After packing, and checking out of the hotel, I made my way to the Ferry Building. It was 10 minutes to 11, so that meant that we would have a few minutes to spare.
At 11, the door was opened and the crowd started to make their way inside.
After my friend and I had slipped through the door, I had noticed this subtle detail between the glass door in front and the reception counter hidden behind the thick black curtain.
Stepping up to the counter, I found that the bar was empty. I asked the host if there was a possibility of securing a table. She said that we would be able to get a table right and took us to be seated. YES!
As we were leaving, about an hour and a half later, the bar area looked like this.
To me, there seemed to be a constant stream of people stepping up to the bar to enjoy a drink or a light lunch.
After being seated, I took this photo. I honestly thought it would have been full of people by now.
This is what the restaurant looked like when our second dish, the cellophane noodles with fresh Dungeness crab arrived (about 20 minutes later). See how crowded it got?
To start we each ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee (US$2.50).
This was brewed in the traditional manner with the coffee still dripping as it was delivered to the table. The ratio of condensed milk to coffee was just right and this really hit the spot.
The first dish that arrived at our table was the Slanted Door spring rolls (US$7.50).
These were just like the summer rolls that we get here. They had nice plump shrimps inside, and they were stuffed full of lean pork. There was no skimping here. The filling was rounded out by some mint and glass noodles. The peanut sauce was thick and delicious. These were a perfect start to the meal.
Next to arrive at our table was the cellophane noodles with fresh Dungeness crab meat (US$14.00).
Cellophane noodles were stir-fried with huge chunks of fresh Dungeness crab meat and perhaps a simple seasoning of garlic, black pepper and a few chopped green onions. This dish was so simple, yet so tasty. I could have eaten the whole serving myself. That's how good this was. I would definitely like to come back here just for these noodles. On second thought, maybe I can try to recreate this dish at home.
The next dish that our server delivered was the lemongrass tofu with fresh shiitake mushrooms, onions and chili sauce (US$8.50).
Here the tofu, mushrooms and onions (green and red) were stir-fried with lemongrass and spices. This was probably the spiciest dish that we ordered -- and it wasn't spicy. In my opinion, there were just a little too many onions here, but there was also a surprise. After I started, eating this, I discovered some "black" tofu, if I can describe it as that, hiding in this dish. This was a tasty addition to this already delicious dish.
The last dish to arrive was the shaking beef (US$21.50).
This was described on the menu as being "cubed filet mignon with garlic and organic red onions". The beef was nicely seasoned, lean and tender. What I liked about this was that the beef had been seared on the outside and had sort of a "crust" when I bit into it. The textural contrast was great. I only wished that there was more beef, less onions, or more spinach (is that what it was?). The somewhat tangy "dressing" gave this dish a little "oomph" and complimented all of the flavors well.
After eating all of that, we were satisfied, but had saved some room for dessert. Since I had a plane to catch in a few hours, I decided that I would order dessert and share it. I decided on the warm strawberry and Thai basil turnovers with coconut ice cream (US$6.00).
When the dessert arrived, I was almost afraid to eat it. The presentation was outstanding. I only worried about the flavor combination. All my fears were set aside after I took the first bite. WOW! This was amazing. The flaky pastry, the slightly tart strawberries, the cold ice cream, and the sweet Thai basil sauce all went together so well. I couldn't stop eating this dessert. After it was gone, I felt like ordering another -- it was that good. In the end, I stopped myself, but I must say that this was one of the highlights of the meal.
After we were done eating, I had told my friend that I was initially skeptical about dining here. I normally don't like "fusion" cuisine as it sometimes takes away the very element of a dish that makes it special. That was not the case here. The "street" element was well integrated into each dish and The Slanted Door excelled with each dish's presentation and execution. Though the food was a bit pricey, but the quality of the ingredients more than made up for it. The portion sizes were decent, enough to share, and I was not left feeling hungry even after several hours had elapsed. The waitstaff is knowledgeable and helpful, and the service really can't be beat. I am definitely coming here again if only for those cellophane noodles.
If you aren't able to secure a table at The Slanted Door, and if there is no space at the bar, there is a counter located inside the Ferry Building that does take out called Out The Door. I didn't try the food here, but I would assume that the quality of the food is similar to what was served inside. I heard that the emphasis at this counter was Vietnamese Street food.
The Slanted Door
One Ferry Building Space 3
San Francisco, California
I'd like to thank the city of San Francisco for being such a gracious host and for providing me with clear weather (most of the time). Good-bye San Francisco! I'll be back.
Next stop? Seattle -- September 2 thru 6.