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Slanted Door & bad reviews on Yelp [San Francisco]

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DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 07:33 AM

Looking at reviews, although TA reviewers love it, there are a lot of bad recent reviews on Yelp, eg only 5 pieces of beef as standard in Shaking Beef, bad service, food mediocre at best, etc. I've never been to San Francisco before and will probably never have a chance to go again, so I don't want to waste one of my few meals on something overpriced and mediocre (as some reviewers suggest). I see it's a James Beard finalist which is reassuring. I'm going primarily for the Shaking Beef but also because it's meant to be so good.
Other places I plan to go are Gary Danko, Wayfarerer Tavern and probably Straw (and, I confess, In-N-Out as I don't expect to get back to the west coast).
Thanks
Doug

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  1. CarrieWas218 RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 08:15 AM

    I am one of those who don't particularly care for Slanted Door. We San Franciscans are a picky lot and I think SD is really over-rated. For me, the food is too sweet, the restaurant is too crowded and loud, and the waiters are too full of themselves because they feel so lucky working there.

    Also, Gary Danko was "the" place to eat a decade ago but has not changed with the time and is quite staid. I haven't recommended it since the early 2000s...

    What are you looking for in your San Francisco dining experience? You will probably get better recommendations here because we can discuss your choices better than you can on Yelp.

    45 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218
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      DougWeller RE: CarrieWas218 Mar 26, 2013 08:39 AM

      Thanks for the replies.

      Actually I like sweet (and my wife doesn't like hot food).
      As I said, it was the Shaking Beef that interested me and my wife isn't too keen on Asian food so that looked like something she would eat (although being pretty deaf, loud's bad). I would have gone to Ana Mandara for it's French Vietnamese food but it's closed.
      I'd heard comments like yours about Gary Danko and was going to give it a miss, but what I like is the wide menu and the opportunity to order a 3 to 5 course meal with more than one of each course, rather than only 1 from each. And it serves game birds and bison. I like game, are there any good game restaurants in San Francisco? Restaurants that serve Elk or venison? I'm not much on vegetables, cheese, etc so that cuts out a lot of the foodie places I've looked at.
      As for In-N-Out, if it isn't better than McDonald's maybe I'll give it a miss, but I want fast food on a Sunday night near Fisherman’s Wharf as we've got a Segway tour booked for 7pm (we've taken a Segway tour before and enjoyed it, and we've got another tour earlier that's a food tour so we won't want a big meal).
      Places with a wide range of good desserts and a wide menu well cooked?

      Thanks.
      Doug

      1. re: DougWeller
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        hyperbowler RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 09:24 AM

        In-N-Out is definitely better than McDonald's, but it's not as good as some of the fancier and more expensive burgers around town. But, given your Sunday night description in the Wharf, I think it's a good fit. Part of the popularity comes from the apparently minimalist menu, but more customizable secret menu. "Animal style" is very popular. Lots of tips at: http://daviswiki.org/In-N-Out_Secret_...

        Elk and venison aren't particularly popular in SF. Not sure I've seen them outside of menu specials. Do you like offal?

        1. re: hyperbowler
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          wally RE: hyperbowler Mar 26, 2013 09:46 AM

          Wild pigs show up on menus some times.

        2. re: DougWeller
          CarrieWas218 RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 09:48 AM

          Doug, there *are* restaurants that serve game, but in the Fall when the meat is fresh and as specials only. If there are restaurants serving game, it would have been frozen from last season and probably not very desirable...

          There are a handful that have quail on the menu but I think you were looking for mammals versus birds...

          Also look at Incanto for interesting meats.

          1. re: CarrieWas218
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            DougWeller RE: CarrieWas218 Mar 26, 2013 09:59 AM

            I hadn't thought of the season. We have fresh venison year around in the UK (and American and European buffalo are raised near where I live). And Denver has a restaurant that serves elk, etc year around but I didn't have time to visit when I was there. Wild pig/boar sounds good but we've got that in the UK also. The secret menu looks good - I actually do like diner style food when it's cooked well - and "road food".
            Mammals or birds (I had some delicious, amazingly tender goat recently, but I'm not looking for goat again!)
            Thanks again.
            Doug

            1. re: DougWeller
              Robert Lauriston RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 10:37 AM

              "like diner style food when it's cooked well"

              Diner food cooked well, Fremont Diner in Sonoma is tops. I'm not sure about SF. RickyBobby? Grubstake?

              The ingredients and cooking at In-N-Out are pretty much identical to those at my high school cafeteria. You could make an indistinguishable hamburger yourself with groceries purchased at any American supermarket.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                DougWeller RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 26, 2013 10:48 AM

                If there's somewhere fast that's better Sunday evening near Ferry Wharf I'd probably go for it.
                Thanks
                Doug

                1. re: DougWeller
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                  hyperbowler RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 12:03 PM

                  There's a recent Wharf thread, but no one identified any places for a quick meal. As most locals try to minimize their time there, identifying an alternative quick meal to In-N-Out would certainly be of interest ...
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893465

                  1. re: hyperbowler
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                    Pius Avocado III RE: hyperbowler Mar 26, 2013 12:11 PM

                    I would've mentioned the Codmother as that's the only place at the wharf on my radar if not for the UK/fish exclusions.

                    1. re: hyperbowler
                      Robert Lauriston RE: hyperbowler Mar 26, 2013 12:11 PM

                      Tanguito is quick. Argentine empanada truck.

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/647963

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                        hyperbowler RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 26, 2013 12:24 PM

                        Nice. Thanks for pointing out Tanguito. They're open till 7pm and are closed on Mondays.

                        1. re: hyperbowler
                          grayelf RE: hyperbowler Mar 26, 2013 01:57 PM

                          Tanguito is a good call but they do sometimes run out of empanadas. Maybe good to phone first?

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston
                          Civil Bear RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 27, 2013 12:22 PM

                          Tanguito is notoriously slow. Expect at least a 30 minute wait if anyone is ahead of you.

                  2. re: DougWeller
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                    wally RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 11:08 AM

                    You haven't mentioned fish. The salmon season starts soon and is predicted by some to be quite good.

                    1. re: wally
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                      DougWeller RE: wally Mar 26, 2013 11:14 AM

                      Wife's not a fish person I'm afraid. Fish and chips, yes, ordinary fish, only reluctantly (I do cook it once a week at home because it's healthy).
                      Doug

                    2. re: DougWeller
                      Ruth Lafler RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 12:37 PM

                      You should have said up front that you were from the UK. That makes a difference. I'd say go to In N Out as a classic Americana experience.

                      It sounds like your wife is not very adventurous, which means it might be a good idea to play it safe with Slanted Door, but maybe for lunch, and off-peak (they don't close between lunch and dinner so a late lunch might help with the noise issue). I don't think you'll find it terribly expensive if you're used to UK prices.

                      Skip Danko, especially if you aren't interested in a cheese course, which is one of the few reasons to go. You can eat really well in San Francisco without going the five-course fine dining route.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
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                        budnball RE: Ruth Lafler Mar 26, 2013 02:22 PM

                        I have to agree. Coming from the UK, the In-n-Out may be a good fit and the Slated Door will be fine. As a regular visiter to Great Britain, I think any American hamburger will be an upgrade. When are you coming over?

                      2. re: DougWeller
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                        goldangl95 RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 01:23 PM

                        Canteen might be worth a try. Incanto does interesting innards/meat options at times.

                    3. re: DougWeller
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                      Pius Avocado III RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 11:22 AM

                      Robert had a better school cafeteria than I- mine did not resemble meat, and that taste still haunts me.

                      I find that the biggest InO supporters were weaned on the stuff as I was, while the naysayers are those who were not, left wondering about all the hype. While I fall into the former camp, I agree that McDonald’s and the like (or perhaps the new crop of Smashburgers/Five Guys/etc) are the proper point of comparison. On that basis, it’s unequivocally good.

                      In-n-Out fits your pre-tour agenda and is an iconic California experience (although SoCal rather than NorCal). Go and enjoy it. My most frequent order is a Double Double, buns extra toasted, add pickle. If you get fries, they'll most likely be limp if you don't specify extra-crispy.

                      1. re: Pius Avocado III
                        Robert Lauriston RE: Pius Avocado III Mar 26, 2013 12:01 PM

                        SF and LA are farther apart than NYC and Montreal and have about as much in common as food culture goes.

                        If you want fast food at the Wharf, go to a sidewalk crab stand, not a branch of a foreign chain.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                          hyperbowler RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 26, 2013 12:05 PM

                          The OP's wife doesn't like seafood, and by that point, the crab would doubtfully be local

                      2. re: DougWeller
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                        dunstable RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 11:39 AM

                        I disagree with everyone; if you've never had an In-N-Out burger in your life, go for it. Since I'm not originally from California, I had long been curious about In-N-Out, so I couldn't wait to try it when I first visited. It is many times better than any national burger chain (with the possible exception of Whataburger, which I've never had but a Texan acquaintance of mine claims is slightly superior.) It is certainly far superior to the Shake Shack, which I have had in the last few months.

                        And if you don't like it, hey, you only spent $10.

                        The only problem I have with In-N-Out is their French fries, which is actual potato that they slice up on the spot and throw into the fryer. This may make for a fresher experience, but it does make for a bland fry, if you're used to McDonald's fries with all their seasoning. Fries can also be ordered animal style, which helps a lot.

                        Definitely skip Danko. Personally I'm not particularly moved by Straw either, but I know people who like it a lot, so.

                        1. re: dunstable
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                          DougWeller RE: dunstable Mar 26, 2013 02:47 PM

                          Apologies - yes, I'm in the UK, but I'm from Miami. However, I miss American food although British food has improved immensely over the last ten years. I think we will keep an open mind until we get there and decide on the night between in-N-Out (buns extra toasted with pickle and mustard fried and a grilled onion slice sounds good to me) and Tanquito (and many thanks for suggesting that). In fact, if I have room I may try both!

                          Anyone have experience of Quickly? I like the HK equivalent of French toast, had that in Shanghai.

                          Thanks all, Doug

                          What does Bodega Bistro call their Shaking Beef, as I can't find that on their online menu.

                          And I'm still not clear why I should drop Gary Danko - he's got the awards, the reviews, and a menu that's maybe not that exciting but is broad - however, I'm going to wait until the winter menu is replaced to decide.

                          1. re: DougWeller
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                            dunstable RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 03:40 PM

                            Gary Danko is bland food, to put it bluntly, albeit competent, well-executed bland food. There are many, many restaruants in San Francisco doing similar food at a much higher caliber. At this point, I might even go as far as calling Danko a tourist trap, because it seems that tourists are who sustain Danko's business -- and those accolades came a long time ago. If you were some random tourist from Podunk, then perhaps it would be a perfectly okay recommendation, but as you are already the sort of person who reads Chowhound and is from a major metro area, I don't think Danko is going to cut it for you, especially considering the cost -- you could eat two or three amazing meals for the cost of one at Gary Danko.

                            1. re: DougWeller
                              Ruth Lafler RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 03:45 PM

                              Bodega Bistro has "shaking beef" listed under its Vietnamese name: bo luc lac.

                              Drop Danko because it's generic and not representative of the current San Francisco food scene. Unless for some reason you feel you must have a formal five-course prix fixe dinner, look at some other options.

                              1. re: DougWeller
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                                Dustin_E RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 03:47 PM

                                my opinion:

                                in+out
                                slanted door
                                gary danko

                                are all fine choices. while they certainly aren't the most interesting or best value, they all have good consistent predictable food in a convenient location, and have nice decor. they are also places where a lot of visitors go, which is useful from a frame of reference perspective when talking to other people who've been to sf.

                                i'm a local. i've been to almost all the other places mentioned on the boards. i still stop by all three at least once a year or so.

                                if you go to slanted door, i like the pork belly. they offer half orders of that. i've never thought the shaking beef was anything special. their crab noodles are decent too.

                                i also like the flexibility of gary danko's menu. i generally prefer a steakhouse to their meat selections -- but their meats certainly aren't bad. i've had good luck with their seafood dishes. i'd skip their cheese -- i'm sure you can get better in the uk.

                                anyway, if you move to san francisco, and eat at these places many times over many years, they probably won't be your favorites. but i think they are decent picks for a visitor who's never been to any of these. and definitely a better choice than traveling across town to a less nice niche venue to save 20% on the check for marginally better food.

                                1. re: DougWeller
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                                  nocharge RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 06:28 PM

                                  Whether you should go to Gary Danko really depends on what you are looking for. The restaurant caters to tourists looking to splurge on an upscale meal and the menu reflects that. It's safe, generic fine dining that has something for everyone, so if you are an unadventurous diner looking to have your fix of Russian caviar and Maine lobster while in San Francisco, this may be your place. (Although I wasn't impressed by their caviar service last time I had it.) But if you are looking for something that is either a little bit more "California" than Maine lobster or a more unique restaurant, there are much more interesting choices, although they usually don't have the deliberately broad, touristy appeal of GD.

                                  1. re: DougWeller
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                                    W42 RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 08:41 PM

                                    Ok, I basically agree with everyone that Slanted Door is really not that special, swarmed with tourists, and just serves stuff you could get for 1/3 the price elsewhere.

                                    Let me try to explain why everyone here is pushing you away from Gary Danko as a tourist trap: it's fancy but the food is not memorable at all, much less worth the price. Danko's food may have been relatively good 20 years ago when rich folks wanted high-end french cuisine (nothing wrong with that—I liked LeDoyen and L'Ambroisie in Paris). Locals have moved on and there are much better options, both fancy french and other cuisines at all price points.

                                    For comparison: I lived in London for a couple of years and my favorite restaurant was The Ledbury, and they did great things with game. Gary Danko is like Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's (he just lost the contract with the hotel) or La Tour d'Argent in Paris—overpriced for the food and lost what accolades it once had.

                                    Furthermore, I know it's hard to tell as a tourist, but Gary Danko really doesn't get the best reviews. Danko hasn't been nominated for a Beard award in almost a dozen years and he hasn't won anything since 1995. The restaurant lost its only Michelin star for several years. Michael Bauer of the SF Chronicle, widely considered the most important reviewer in the area, rates the food and the overall restaurant at 3 and 1/2 stars out of 4 (and frankly I think his standards are too lax).

                                    If you want a "broad" menu that is similar and just as flexible in how much you order, try La Folie. The longtime chef Roland Passot and the chef-de-cuisine Michael Hung are often amenable to making changes or cooking something special if you ask (even if you bring it in). Or if you interested in an expensive experience that will be totally creative and unlike anything else—like say The Fat Duck though not as amazing—try Saison or Benu (if your wife doesn't like fish you might have to go with the Tues-Thurs only a la carte menu at Benu).

                                    Also, try In-N-Out if you never have. It's not the best burger, though it is better than any I had in the UK, and the hype mostly seems to stem from nostalgia. But a medium rare double double animal style with fries well still hits the spot.

                                    1. re: W42
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                                      DougWeller RE: W42 Mar 26, 2013 11:05 PM

                                      Thanks. I think La Folie certainly looks like a better bet - a menu I like with some interesting choices.
                                      I think we'll avoid Slanted Door also - given everything people here have said, and the noise factor sounds like a bad choice, especially since Bodega Bistro looks good. We may walk there from our hotel (Chancellor near Union Square). Any suggestions for dessert afterwards?
                                      Thanks.
                                      Doug

                                      1. re: DougWeller
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                                        nocharge RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 11:22 PM

                                        I love La Folie, but why would you go to San Francisco to have French food Provençal if it's a one and only trip in a long time?
                                        Benu, Coi, Crenn, and Saison all would make for far more unique experiences, although more controversial ones. For a distinctively "California" take, consider Manresa, which unfortunately is well over an hours drive south of SF.

                                        1. re: nocharge
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                                          DougWeller RE: nocharge Mar 27, 2013 12:31 AM

                                          Simply that I like La Folie's menu and their food looks interesting, and none of the other menus attract me. Maybe I could get food like that in France, but I've no plans to go back to France, there are too many other places I haven't been.

                                          1. re: DougWeller
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                                            nocharge RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 01:09 AM

                                            La Folie is great, but I think that a fair amount of the discussion is whether it makes sense to go on a long trip to San Francisco only to have food that has very little to do with either San Francisco or California. My take is that you should go for whatever food you feel like having, whether it's Maine lobsters or a Big Mac as long as you realize that neither would be likely to be far superior to any Maine lobsters or Big Macs that could be had in other cities across the globe.

                                            1. re: nocharge
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                                              DougWeller RE: nocharge Mar 27, 2013 01:19 AM

                                              Thanks. That's what I'm really looking for, food I'd like no matter where it might be better or the same.
                                              As for La Folie, I'm not convinced that Huckleberry Baked Alaska is French (or most of their other dishes - French influenced, yes, French, no).
                                              It's nice to have food that exemplifies local tastes, but to be honest, when I go to New Orleans at the end of the year, I'm going to be avoiding most of the really local stuff as it's not to my taste (ditto poutine in Seattle, no way will I eat fries with cheese and gravy). Interesting is good but not when it gets in the way of delicious. La Folie looks like it combines both for me.
                                              Doug

                                              1. re: DougWeller
                                                Melanie Wong RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 01:26 AM

                                                Since you mentioned the Baked Alaska, I'll relate that the time I ordered it at La Folie, the ice cream inside was completely melted. Pretty big fail. Chef Passot came by our table to ask how things were. I told him the problem with the dessert. He just stared at me, didn't say a word and then turned away. I kinda expect more of a response when the tab is more than $200 per person.

                                                1. re: Melanie Wong
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                                                  klyeoh RE: Melanie Wong Mar 27, 2013 01:38 AM

                                                  "stared at me, didn't say a word and then turned away"
                                                  ==========================================
                                                  Unbelievable! I hope it's merely his Gallic temperament and he's going back to the kitchens to give a piece of his mind to the pastry chef, rather than any hurt pride on his part that you even *dared* suggest that there was anything less than perfect in your entire meal.

                                                  1. re: klyeoh
                                                    Melanie Wong RE: klyeoh Mar 27, 2013 01:40 AM

                                                    He had no trouble interacting and soaking up the praise that others in our party had for the savory courses.

                                                2. re: DougWeller
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                                                  nocharge RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 01:58 AM

                                                  Exactly, if doing local stuff is not your priority, why do it? Go with whatever you are happy with. However, I think you are wrong about La Folie not being French. Any good chef does the best possible with local ingredients but that doesn't mean that Passot isn't more traditionally French than the likes of Crenn or Kinch. Anyway, I'm sure you'll be happy a La Folie if that's the kind of dining experience you are looking for.

                                                  1. re: nocharge
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                                                    DougWeller RE: nocharge Mar 27, 2013 02:17 AM

                                                    Good think I always microwave my ice cream! Anyway, French or not, or melted ice cream, still looks better than Gary Danko. I've booked and will look at the menus next month or early May and cancel one (I'd never be a no-show if I could possibly avoid it).
                                                    Doug

                                                  2. re: DougWeller
                                                    Robert Lauriston RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 08:22 AM

                                                    La Folie's chef is very, very French, but he's been cooking in SF for a long time and has incorporated many local influences in his original dishes.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                                                      DougWeller RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 27, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                      Excellent, the best of two worlds. Certainly not something I'd expect to find in the UK or France. Thanks for this.
                                                      Doug

                                                    2. re: DougWeller
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                                                      estnet RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 10:15 PM

                                                      Almost none of the food at La Folie is anything like what I get in France - although that may be a matter of my choices. My experience has been that Passot over the years has incorporated a LOT of local fresh cuisine and style - while also keeping some traditional dishes and as a dinner you can choose.

                                                      I must say I'm shocked at Melanie's experience. I've certainly had more pleasant experiences (but then again I haven't had a complaint), he surely should have replaced the dessert with a correct one!

                                                      Last time I was there I had two very creative dishes that incorporated many fresh (uncooked) fish and were like nothing I'd had anywhere else (and delicious) and I felt very reflective of SF.
                                                      Manresa my be more popular here, but it's not in the city, MUCH more expensive and I've had a lot more "misses" there than La Folie (just my humble experience).

                                                      1. re: estnet
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                                                        pauliface RE: estnet Mar 28, 2013 07:59 AM

                                                        La Folie remains my favorite high end restaurant in SF.

                                      2. re: DougWeller
                                        Civil Bear RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 12:30 PM

                                        In-N-Out is not a gourmet burger place, but the quality of ingredients is much better than any national fast food chain (eg. no frozen meat). I would recommend you try it, if not just to be able to say you did. The fries on the other hand suck. Maybe you can skip the fries and get an empanada at Tanguito across the way - provided there is no line.

                                        1. re: Civil Bear
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                                          DougWeller RE: Civil Bear Mar 27, 2013 02:34 PM

                                          That's my plan, grab a burger there and if we have time something at Tanguito - across the way you say?
                                          Doug

                                          1. re: DougWeller
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                                            DougWeller RE: DougWeller Jun 28, 2013 04:43 AM

                                            In the end, we ate at:
                                            Out the Door at the Ferry building where I had a delicious Banh Mi.
                                            In-N-Out - decent, not special.
                                            Rome Artisan Burger - fantastic burger
                                            La Folie - which we really enjoyed, I even found tasty there food I'd never normally eat
                                            Front Porch
                                            Straw
                                            Kate's Kitchen (for delicious pancakes)
                                            Luques Restaurant at the Chancellor - good sourdough pancakes
                                            Boudin - disappointing sourdough waffles (their sourdough bread was also disappointing, I'm used to a sourer taste, this was fairly bland).
                                            Depending on the context, I'd go back to any of them except Boudin.

                                    2. b
                                      budnball RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 08:17 AM

                                      Pass on In-n-Out!!! It is just another McDonalds level chain. Slanted Door is a better than average tourist spot. For locals, it may seem passé, but anytime I take visitors, they are delighted. Plus the location at the food centric Ferry building will offer many other choices.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: budnball
                                        Robert Lauriston RE: budnball Mar 26, 2013 08:38 AM

                                        I'm often the first person to say not to waste an SF meal on that LA chain In-N-Out, but it's a step up from McDonald's. That's really its only claim to fame, the only reason some people are impressed by it is that they're comparing it to McD.

                                        1. re: budnball
                                          Savour RE: budnball Mar 26, 2013 01:26 PM

                                          Agreed. I always recommend Slanted Door because the food is pretty good and and view is unbelievable and the location is fun.

                                        2. Robert Lauriston RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 08:35 AM

                                          I've always eaten well at Slanted Door but it's expensive for the kind of casual place it is.

                                          You can get the shaking beef at the Out the Door spinoff on Bush. It's a bit cheaper, not touristy, and the food might be a bit better.

                                          http://www.outthedoors.com/downloads/...

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                                            DougWeller RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 26, 2013 09:11 AM

                                            Thanks, that looks like a better idea.
                                            Doug

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              vincentlo RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 28, 2013 01:28 AM

                                              What's so casual about Slanted Door? Its decor, or service, or something else?

                                              1. re: vincentlo
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                                                nocharge RE: vincentlo Jun 28, 2013 03:16 AM

                                                The fact that a large fraction of the patrons will likely be tourists not wearing a suit and a tie may contribute to a somewhat casual feel.

                                            2. m
                                              ML8000 RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 08:42 AM

                                              Lunch at places you're not quite sure or sold on (like Slanted Door) is a good strategy. This makes it less of a risk or big deal if disappointed but you still get to try it.

                                              Also I would skip Gary Danko. Perfectly fine place but the tag in SF is you can get a very nice "continental" inspired meal like it in just about every/any decent large metro city.

                                              1. Windy RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 01:21 PM

                                                Slanted Door was vaguely revolutionary 15 years ago. A few moves later, there's a lot more upscale Vietnamese food available, and it's three times as expensive. TA is just catching up. (Gary Danko is also a place from the 90s.)

                                                If you really want to try Slanted Door, get a snack from Out the Door, as noted below. I'd stop at their takeout in the Ferry Building, open for lunch.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Windy
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                                                  wally RE: Windy Mar 26, 2013 01:23 PM

                                                  He wants shaken beef. Does that work as a takeout?

                                                  1. re: wally
                                                    Windy RE: wally Mar 26, 2013 01:48 PM

                                                    No, Out the Door isn't the same menu, though they do have jicama grapefruit salad with candied walnuts. Shaken beef is 1/3 the price and delicious at Bodega Bistro.

                                                    The view from Slanted Door is not worth paying crazy prices for. You can enjoy it without eating there--walk out at night and look at the Bay Lights for free.

                                                    1. re: wally
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                                                      pauliface RE: wally Mar 26, 2013 02:24 PM

                                                      I don't get all the hype about the shaking beef.
                                                      To me, the one thing I look forward to there (I usually go once with my parents each time they visit -- they love it) is the Daikon Rice Cake.

                                                      1. re: pauliface
                                                        Robert Lauriston RE: pauliface Mar 26, 2013 02:53 PM

                                                        The daikon cake at Out the Door on Bush was the highlight of my meal there a few weeks ago. Great crisp brown crust.

                                                        If I can track down the receipt I'll repost my report, it apparently got lost in a system upgrade or something.

                                                  2. f
                                                    foodeye RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 02:28 PM

                                                    Another plus for Slanted Door are the carefully crafted cocktails and the unusual wine list, which are totally top notch.

                                                    1. e
                                                      estnet RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 06:27 PM

                                                      Have you looked at La folie? It's been around longer (I think) than Danko but the menu is actually changed and updated seasonally ;)

                                                      1. free sample addict aka Tracy L RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 07:14 PM

                                                        I ate at Slanted Door a very long time ago so I can't speak to that. As for In and Out, it is very good, but I think when visiting SF Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 should be avoided at all costs. IMHO, it is a huge waste because of the time it takes to manuveur through the area and wait in line for food. As a frequent visitor to SF I find it takes away from time I could spend in other more fun spots.

                                                        An alternative to In and Out would be Super Duper or Roam. The quality of the ingredients is really good at both places.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
                                                          Robert Lauriston RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 26, 2013 07:34 PM

                                                          The Wharf has been coasting on its reputation for 40 years, but new visitors insist on finding out for themselves what a pit it is.

                                                          Good place to zip through on a Segway, good place to get out of ASAP afterwards.

                                                          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
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                                                            DougWeller RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 26, 2013 10:47 PM

                                                            Glad to hear about Roam because we are going there as part of a private tour.
                                                            Wouldn't go to the Wharf except that's where we meet the Segway tour and we want fast food near there. Just makes life easier.

                                                            1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
                                                              hill food RE: free sample addict aka Tracy L Mar 27, 2013 10:41 PM

                                                              wharf=a ferry connection or a packed box of Dungeness shipped to a friend. although the Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park are cool. otherwise...

                                                            2. PeterL RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 09:20 PM

                                                              I am negative on Wayfare (not Wayfarerer, or even Wayfarer) Tavern. There is nothing special about the place. The famous fried chicken is just so so IMO. If this is your only chance to SF there are much better restaurants to go to.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: PeterL
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                                                                DougWeller RE: PeterL Mar 26, 2013 10:46 PM

                                                                Sorry, I know it's Wayfare but my fingers don't. Any other recommendations for fried chicken?

                                                                1. re: PeterL
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                                                                  nocharge RE: PeterL Mar 26, 2013 10:58 PM

                                                                  My take on WT is that it's mainly competently executed comfort food that is not particularly interesting and somewhat overpriced. $7 for a side order of fries? And I don't like the space. Definitely not made for bar dining.

                                                                2. m
                                                                  mdg RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 10:10 PM

                                                                  If this may be your one and only time in San Francisco, you can do much better than Gary Danko, both for food quality and overall local flavor. Zuni Cafe would be my classic northern California choice.

                                                                  Good game is surprisingly uncommon around here, but Pläj (a Cal/Scandinavian restaurant in the Civic Center) is currently serving a lovely venison dish. When are you coming? These dishes sometimes disappear from menus as we get closer to summer.

                                                                  Michael

                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mdg
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                                                                    DougWeller RE: mdg Mar 26, 2013 10:48 PM

                                                                    Late May - 19th for 4 days. I keep thinking about Zuni, I made their roast chicken last week. We may go there but the hour's wait doesn't entrance me.
                                                                    Doug

                                                                    1. re: DougWeller
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                                                                      W42 RE: DougWeller Mar 26, 2013 11:27 PM

                                                                      Zuni's is a classic, I love Judy Roger's cookbook too, and I have been going for years. But frankly there are a lot of other places that do "California" cuisine a little better (Nopa, Frances, Foreign Cinema). Also, it's entirely possible to get reservations at Zuni's if you or your hotel calls, especially this far in advance.

                                                                      1. re: W42
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                                                                        BAnders RE: W42 Mar 27, 2013 09:24 AM

                                                                        +1 on Foreign Cinema; I also think Zuni's would suit given your description of what you are interested in eating (wild game aside). I did notice you mentioned at one point that one of your party has some difficulty hearing? This is something to consider in SF, land of loud restaurants, and either Zuni or Foreign Cinema would be better on that front than Frances or Slanted Door.

                                                                        1. re: BAnders
                                                                          Robert Lauriston RE: BAnders Mar 27, 2013 09:39 AM

                                                                          Slanted Door is all hard surfaces, concrete floor, very noisy when full, which it always is. To me it's like a 1960s airport departure gate waiting area.

                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                                                                            DougWeller RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 27, 2013 09:48 AM

                                                                            As I said, no Slanted door, maybe the Bodega Bistro.
                                                                            Doug

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                              hill food RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 27, 2013 10:36 PM

                                                                              Slanted was fun when it was on Valencia... god I'm old.

                                                                              Zuni is such a classic room/space.

                                                                              1. re: hill food
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                                                                                nocharge RE: hill food Mar 27, 2013 11:46 PM

                                                                                The Slanted Door went from a cult following in their Mission District location and then to the Brannan St. location that made a lot of people scratch their heads and then to the Ferry Building, which is arguably a bit of a tourist trap although not a particularly bad one.

                                                                                As far as I know, it's the only restaurant to survive the somewhat "cursed" Brannan location, which I believe most people in the industry consider challenging. Supposedly, the landlord has a somewhat optimistic view of how much rent can be extracted and that has resulted in the space being dark for quite some time.

                                                                                1. re: nocharge
                                                                                  hill food RE: nocharge Mar 27, 2013 11:55 PM

                                                                                  where was it on Brannan? must have been while I was away. that's not exactly a 'hot' street for anyone.

                                                                                  1. re: hill food
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                                                                                    nocharge RE: hill food Mar 28, 2013 12:23 AM

                                                                                    The location was 100 Brannan, which was actually near the corner of the Embacadero and not a block away as the number might lead you to believe,
                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/439578

                                                                                    1. re: nocharge
                                                                                      hill food RE: nocharge Mar 28, 2013 01:05 AM

                                                                                      ahh SOMA numbers are always weird. that does seem like an odd area. some have had luck down around there...

                                                                                      1. re: hill food
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                                                                                        nocharge RE: hill food Mar 28, 2013 01:22 AM

                                                                                        It was actually a cab driver who pointed out to me that numbering that location as 100 Brannan was ridiculous.

                                                                                        1. re: nocharge
                                                                                          hill food RE: nocharge Mar 28, 2013 06:42 PM

                                                                                          well yeah given that 1st is, what the 300 block? and then later around South Van Ness it all curls around so the numbers start crossing and eventually one can find oneself at the corner of 17th and 3rd? and that's the streets, not the avenues. funny though how 17th street, crossing Buena Vista, sort of turns into 17th avenue.

                                                                        2. re: DougWeller
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                                                                          mdg RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 12:02 AM

                                                                          You don't have to order the roast chicken. There are many other great things on the menu that don't have an hour wait. Anything out of that oven is wonderful.

                                                                          Michael

                                                                          1. re: DougWeller
                                                                            Robert Lauriston RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 08:26 AM

                                                                            You don't have to order the chicken at Zuni. It's great but probably not even in the top 10 of main courses I've had there.

                                                                        3. t
                                                                          tjinsf RE: DougWeller Mar 27, 2013 02:47 PM

                                                                          In my opinion it's gone downhill in terms of service and food while the prices have gone up. When I started going there years ago the food was pretty consistently good and it was a nice upscale take on the food but the food quality seems to have really gone down in the last few years.

                                                                          1. j
                                                                            jaiko RE: DougWeller Mar 28, 2013 10:37 AM

                                                                            Much depends on where you're coming from. If Viet food is uncommon or poorly done/MSG-laden in your town, then Slanted Door could be fun for you. The drinks are good, the tea is phenomenal (Phan is a tea connoisseur), some of the food is tasty and well-done. All of it is fairly simplistic and small portions; I would agree that going for lunch might be better than dinner.

                                                                            Me, I can't stand it, but that's because I'm getting disenchanged with the whole rampant oversugaring of Asian/SE Asian cooking that we're experiencing in the Bay Area in the last decade. I've been fortunate to eat meals with Vietnamese friends who order in Vietnamese, for the last 40 yrs. Once you've had the Seven Course Beef Banquet made by a collection of great home cooks...well, it's hard to go backwards, LOL.

                                                                            Phan is like Martin Yan - in SF an instantly recognizable name, decent but you're paying for the decor and fame, not the food.

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                                                                              pauliface RE: DougWeller Mar 28, 2013 11:00 AM

                                                                              In addition to other comments, I would like to point out that, for me, what's happening with Korean food in SF is far more exciting than what's happening with Vietnamese. I keep trying new Korean places and never seem to be disappointed. Seoul Garden, Brothers Korean BBQ, even K-pop in the Castro. And over in Emeryville where I work, PyeongChang Tofu House and Casserole House on Telegraph.

                                                                              None of these places has the ambience 'punch' of a place like Slanted Door. And you can't say that they are offering any kind of a new twist. I'm sure it's my own lack of experience and exposure to Korean food, but to me this is where the fun is right now.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: pauliface
                                                                                Robert Lauriston RE: pauliface Mar 28, 2013 11:09 AM

                                                                                Those places all serve pretty traditional food. The only places I can think of doing something new in a Korean vein are Namu Gaji in SF and Fusebox in Oakland.

                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
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                                                                                  pauliface RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 28, 2013 12:25 PM

                                                                                  Yes, I'd agree that they traditional.
                                                                                  Have not been to Fusebox.

                                                                                  Tried Namu Gaji once and it bothered me. I felt it was overpriced, though many items were tasty. And I really disliked their okonamiyaki because it had kimchi on it, although admittedly I think adding kimchi was the whole point of their take on okonomiyaki.

                                                                                  1. re: pauliface
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                                                                                    JonDough RE: pauliface Mar 28, 2013 01:04 PM

                                                                                    Fusebox is worth a visit. It is small and can be crowded quickly. Also pay attention to where you park.

                                                                                2. re: pauliface
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                                                                                  masha RE: pauliface Mar 29, 2013 09:37 AM

                                                                                  "Ambience punch" - great phrase and I think you've identified much of SD's attraction. It is a terrific location and room. I say that from the perspective of a visitor, not local, who ate there about year ago and had a great time. Was the food over the top, stellar? No, but it was quite good, and the location on the water really was beautiful. We were getting together we old friends and I am sure that part of my happy memories of the meal derives just from being with people I like. Also, while it is boisterous, I did not find the room "conversation-challenged"; that I would have minded, as the goal of the meal was to catch up with friends.

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