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Aug 6, 2001 07:52 PM

Slanted Door revisited

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Does anyone else remember when the Slanted Door was an inexpensive restaurant? Or am I just a little more price sensitive these days. I used to eat there fairly often when it first opened and remember it being reasonable, but have not been for 3 years, I'd guess. One of the big things I noticed is that the wine by the glass is now $8 to 8.50 when it used to be $5, and I'm pretty sure it is the same labels--the Austrian stuff, very nice with the food.

Anyway, just had a pleasant meal there. We were in the area at 5:30 and starving. There was the usually little mob forming at the door. We had no reservations, but were seated upstairs promptly after a short wait in line for the door to open (they told us to line up, don't you hate that?).

We had imperial rolls (pretty straightforward) and a great salt and pepper squid with grilled pineapple as apps. Then shaking beef, scallops in black bean sauce with pea shoot, carmel chicken and a dish of sauteed spinach. Our bill was $106 which included a half bottle of wine at $17. It just seemed a bit much as the dishes were tiny, and I guess we are used to eating at cheap Vietnamese places. We were stuffed though.

Our waiter was really great, so nice and friendly and when I mentioned that the scallops were overcooked so notas good as we hoped (6 for $26, no flavor sauce) he brought us a couple of comp desserts, which I really appreciated. We had a outrageous basil pane cotta in mango soup that should be tried, it really works well, and a cherry upside down cake with marscarpone cream.

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    Melanie Wong

    Were you possibly "Anne H." or Anne with the lemontail e-mail address?

    Those desserts sound very special - don't think I've ever ordered dessert at Slanted Door.

    A friend (non-Vietnamese) who works there says the best food out of the kitchen can be the homey meals the staff makes for themselves. Bitter greens, fermented flavors, etc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Thanks for the reminder, yes I settled on Anne H.

      I really liked the Vietnamese Crepe there, but it was not on the menu that night. It is homey and exotic at the same time--stuffed with beansprout and other items and seasoned with with fish sauce over all. Any ideas here to get these elsewhere? When I was a more modest check?

      I did forget that the owner is committed to using as much organic as possible. Our server was great, I really liked him (was it Ryan upstairs?) and I did leave a big tip which added to the expense.

      1. re: Anne H.

        That's a dish that I really like too, and am on the hunt at each Southeast Asian place I visit. We had a decent one at our chowhound Cambodian dinner at Battambang in Oakland.

    2. We pretty much crossed SD off our list after similar experiences but also with uppity, of course unknowledgeable, service (do you notice that the more a server knows the less he/she needs to put on airs?!).

      It was sooo good and sooo welcoming and sooo reasonable before it got famous.

      As for desserts, my recollection of early descriptions is the amazing combination of market-fresh Vietnamese dishes, topnotch wines, and wonderful Western desserts.