Slanted Door Report
I've never regarded Charlie Phan as the Vietnamese Thomas Keller, but I've always enjoyed my meals at The Slanted Door. I was there Saturday evening in a party of four and we tried:
* crispy imperial rolls with shrimp, pork, glass noodles and peanuts
* one dozen oysters (Luna, Fanny Bay, Marin Miyagi)
* Japanese yellowtail with fried shallot and thai basil
* local king salmon belly with cucumber-dill relish
* manila clams with thai basil, crispy pork belly and fresh chilies
* baby Mediterranean Pulpo with shishito peppers and lime-cilantro sauce
* mesquite grilled local King salmon with roasted garlic soy dipping sauce
* Meyer Ranch shaking beef cubed filet mignon with garlic, watercress and red onions (x2)
* Hodo Soy Beanery organic lemongrass tofu (spicy) with fresh shiitake mushrooms, onions and chili sauce
* Catalan Farm sweet corn with green onions and golden chanterelle mushrooms
This is clearly California-style Alice Waters influenced Vietnamese food with an emphasis on fresh top-quality ingredients. But that's fine with me. Although some folks are annoyed that this isn't "authentic" vietnamese, and others are in a huff that the prices are higher now than when Slanted Door was in the Mission, neither complaint seems fair. The food at Slanted Door has always been ingredient-driven, and, just between you and me, I'll bet the rent is higher in the Ferry Building than it was in the Mission.
Everything was quite good to excellent, though the the salmon-belly was a bit less interesting than the other dishes. My favorites were the Japanese yellowtail with fried shallot & thai basil, and the manila clams with crispy pork belly and a delicious sauce which made us ask for extra spoons so we could finish it off.
We bought a bottle of 2005 Prager Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Weissenkirchener Zwerithaler off the list ($70) which was a deep gold color from some botrytis though perfectly dry with 13.5% alcohol. It went very well with raw bar selections and the spring rolls. We also brought along a 2001 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, a 1969 Lionel J. Bruck Savigny )a mite tire), and a 2004 Schwarz Zweigelt 'W' Red Table Wine ("do you like oak?").
And then, since the night was still young, we went for desserts (2) with wine at Coi, and drinks at Bix (by which time the night was middleaged and it was time for this middleaged group to beat it on home).
Last night was my first visit to The Slanted Door in its Ferry Building location. There were 6 of us and we started with the Japanese yellowtail with fried shallot and thai basil which was really delicious. The imperial rolls and spring rolls were also good.
The oven roasted bluenose bass was by far the group favorite, even my SO, who claims to not like fish, loved it. It was light, cooked perfectly and slightly crispy on top. We ordered that twice. The shaking beef was the second favorite.
The prawns and veggie dishes (Ella Bella broccoli, baby bok choy) were also very good.
For drinks we ordered two bottles of wine:
cairanne (grenache/mourvèdre/syrah), domaine richaud, rhône, france, 2006
malbec, seven hills, walla walla valley, washington, 2005
I also tried the larmandier-bernier brut and the Summer on the Danube (Prosecco with a splash of Nikolaihof biodynamic elderflower syrup). Both of these were very tasty.
The desserts were the only dissappointing part of the meal. We tried the Dark Chocolate Tart, Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta and Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée, none of which were really good. I did like the blood oranges that came with the panna cotta.
I had a really good experience overall and would definitely go back. It is loud in there so I wouldn't go there for an intimate dinner, but it worked for our group.
You've certainly got a point there - Slanted Door has never professed to be Vietnamese joint after all, just as Chris Yeo's Straits at SF Centre is very popular, but serves food that's pseudo-Singaporean at best (their "sayur lodeh" tasted like vegetables cooked in Thai green curry paste) & won't past muster back in South-East Asia.
Amazing the great reports that are missed when the site is too slow to acces the boards. Glad you provided the link in a more recent post. Great report that sums up what is great about Slanted Door and why so many comparisons are oranges/apples. IMO, they have finally settled into their Ferry Plaza location.
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111