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Aug 13, 2004 02:35 AM

Slanted Door at the Ferry Building .. eh ... no ... yuck

  • k

If I never ate at Slanted Door before, today's lunch would have not made me want to return.

The decor is way to austere for me ... all blacks and greys. It's all very modern and sleek and, to me, very cold looking. Sure there is the view.

It seems to offer more choices on the menu.

I started with my old favorite, the grapefruit and jimica salad with the candied pecans. I've raved about this in the past. It was overdressed and soggy. Again, if I never had it before, I would have been unimpressed.

They still have their loose leaf teas. I had the competition grade Tieguanyn. The last time I ordered one of their competition grade teas, it was one of the most wonderful teas I've ever had. This was unexceptional and the water temperature was way too hot.

I ordered the five spice chicken because I thought that Slanted Door would have a good version. It was ugly. While it WAS cooked, it tasted uncooked. It had this flabby texture. Even the rice accompanying it was dry. The tamarand dipping sauce was delicious though.

It seems that the place has growing pains. All the dishes seemed to be put together carelessly. I sat at the end of the bar that had a view of the kitchen and it looked like a frenzy in there.

The $7.50 Bahn Mi is back on the menu, but they've stopped calling it a Vietnamese sandwich. The Vietnamese crepe seems new also ($9.50)

Still a nice selection of wines and beers.

Hope things improve in the future. However, based on my meal today, I won't be recommending Slanted Door.

They seem to have prix fix lunches and dinners now according to their web site (link below). They did not note this on the menu. The site also has the lunch and dinner menus.



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  1. apologies- should've warned you

    and unfortunately it seems not much is happening at the former mission location which I thought might offer more tasty food with good value- maybe next year we can find out

    I don't know if the FB location will ever offer good food- they're packed and they will be in the future regardless- makes for a long sigh

    3 Replies
    1. re: daybaker

      We had lunch at the Slanted Door last Sunday. It was fantastic. We ordered shaking beef, carmamelized shrimp, and eggplant in a coconut milk sauce. Spring rolls to start, and Thai basil panna cotta in mango puree for dessert. The view was spectacular, and we found the decor very pleasing.

      We are all very familiar with Vietnamese food since we were visiting from Northern Virginia which has a large Vietnamese population and numerous excellent restaurants. The Slanted Door served very refined and sophisticated Vietnamese food. Can't wait to go back.

      1. re: Diane

        I couldn't agree with you more. Had lunch there today, too, and the meal was exceptional. Started with spring rolls and the Vietnamese crepes, moved on to Shaking Beef, and ended with the basil panne cotta. The wine list was perfect, with a large selection of Austrian and German wines, perfect foils for the spicey Vietnamese-California food. The wine list would certainly NOT be found at typical Vietnamese restaurants and the basil panne cotta? No way at a local Vietnamese place. No one goes to the Slanted Door for authentic rural Vietnamese food, and I think the previous threads are pretty brutal (and yes, I've been going to Slanted Door for years). It's fusion, the view's great, the staff couldn't be more helpful. Don't go if you're on a budget and want a small neighborhood Vietnamese hangout.

        1. re: Artsdoc

          I SO agree with you. This is fusion Vietnamese, not your ordinary Vietnamese restaurant. Way more creative. The New York Times had the Shaking Beef recipe in the Sunday magazine a while ago and I bought all the ingredients, including organic beef filet. Mine turned out okay, but the restaurant version was unbelievable. My sister was recently in Vietnam and had some wonderful food, but she said this was one of her best-ever meals.

    2. I had drinks and a couple of appetizers there recently. They made a good aƱejo margarita, with fresh lime juice and chile-infused salt. And they really made me happy when the served my bottle of Chimay with a wine glass.

      We had the papaya salad, meat spring rolls, veggie spring rolls, and imperial rolls. The salad was very dull, while the other three items were well executed but no better than what you can find for half the cost at any other Vietnamese restaurant.

      I totally agree about the decor. The view is fantastic but the neo-industrial design--which may be great in a dark space like the old Valencia location--is annoyingly out of place.


      6 Replies
      1. re: nja

        forgot to mention- as you note- a good drink can be had at the bar

        1. re: nja

          Make that 1/3 the cost of any other Vietnamese restaurant.

          But this has always been true, and was the source of my complaint with Slanted Door: Vietnamese food for yuppies who won't go to a Vietnamese restaurant. In the past at least the food was good.

          1. re: Windy
            Robert Lauriston

            I will and do go to restaurants where my table's the only one with non-Vietnamese customers, but Slanted Door was in the original location was my favorite Vietnamese restaurant ever. The food was great, so was the wine list, it was nice room with great art on the walls, and there was no karaoke.

            I had lunch at the Ferry Bldg. a few weeks ago, food was as good as ever (might have helped that we went at 2:00) but the place is so noisy and the room's so sterile I'm in no rush to return.

            1. re: Windy
              Lee by the Sea

              What are two or three of your favorites, particularly places doing full meals, not just banh mi?

              1. re: Lee by the Sea

                My random list: Lotus Garden on Mission near Cortland (south of 30th). Wonderful crepe, chicken salad, crab, noodles.

                and Yummy Yummy on Irving and 9th. Favorite items: raw beef salad, Vietnamese potstickers, some of the soups.

                Both branches of PPQ are good, on Irving and Clement.

                Thanks to posts on here, I discovered the perfect chicken pho at Turtle Tower on Larkin.

                These are all homey, not fancy places.

                1. re: Windy

                  Windy -- Nice List! I agree with all four you mentioned and would also add:

                  Mai's on Clement (near 4th) -- tasty imperial rolls, hue style spicy noodle soup, catfish in clay pot.

                  and also

                  Pho Hoa Hiep on Irving (just past 19th Ave.) -- extremely affordable, bare-bones, no-frills pho of all sorts.

          2. My stars, how underwhelming. That was the least impressive expensive meal I have had in a long time.

            The food was bland and unexciting. Spring rolls gummy; scallops rubbery, beef - beefy but nothing else.

            The food wasn't exactly Vietnames and was anything but flavorful.

            Las ate at the Mission location in 1995. What a long strange trip it has been - straight into the crapper.


            7 Replies
            1. re: Porkboy

              We heard so much about the Slanted Door all the way from Toronto. But it was the most disappointing meal we had in SF. Myth the night before was much better!

              1. re: Linear

                Could you offer any details about either/both of your meals please? Thanks!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Not only old, but since I originally posted it, my opinion has changed. I like Slanted Door currently. After a while they worked out the issues of moving into a larger kitchen.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Name change alert. Krys=rworange.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Just wanted to make known that old posts under old name had the
                      weight of the the opinions, which I respect, of the new name. I am not alone. Joy in 2006 "Now, the trusty voice of RWOrange is telling me that the naysayers were wrong."

                    2. re: rworange

                      I've always had good food at Slanted Door, and the wine list is great.

                      I don't much like the atmosphere except in the quieter, glassed-in back room.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I am a Slanted Door dissenter... finding their offerings to sickingly sweet and/or gooey and over-sauced; bad acoustics for anything close to decent conversation, and far beyond their hype.