Monday, May 18, 2009
K & N were in town from Boston yesterday and we met them for dinner at Slanted Door. Why did I choose Slanted Door for out-of-towners? Well, this is a restaurant that continues to get a lot of hype for its fusion Vietnamese food. Its location in the Ferry Building, overlooking the Bay is lovely. Also, it is easy to get to from downtown San Francisco and easy to get to for me, coming into town from the East Bay.
I know K & N are adventurous (K and I go back to high school days) and I thought they would enjoy dining here. We had a wonderful evening.
Executive Chef Charles Phan was born in Vietnam and came, with his family, to San Francisco in 1977. Because his parents were each working two jobs, Phan, during his high school years, became the one to prepare dinner for his family of 10. His inspiration came from his mother's French/Vietnamese cooking style. I like to take out-of-towners to restaurants with a local angle. Chef Phan's approach is to create traditional Vietnamese dishes using local, sustainable, organic ingredients.
J & I got into town early and enjoyed the exceptionally warm weather by walking around the Ferry Building. As you can see, people were dining outdoors and just walking around, enjoying the glorious day. We saw several container ships heading in and out of the Port of Oakland, under the Bay Bridge.
Slanted Door begins dinner service at 5:30 p.m. Within half an hour of opening for dinner, its large dining room was full.
While we visited and looked over the menu, we sipped an excellent Loimer Riesling, a dry Riesling from Austria. I like Rieslings with Asian food and so does Chef Phan. The wine list features more than two dozen Rieslings, both dry and sweet. I relied on our waiter's suggestion for a moderately=priced dry Riesling. It was perfect for us.
Since most people share dishes at Slanted Door, we decided to each choose a main dish and to share two appetizers and two desserts.
Our appetizers were Raw Oysters from the Northwest (K wanted to taste the difference from East Coast oysters) and Slanted Door Spring Rolls. I missed taking a photo of the oysters and of one of the desserts, Vanilla Crème Brûlée, but have photos here of all our other dishes.
Our dinner was one of the best and most interesting meals I've had in San Francisco. In addition to enjoying the different flavors and perfect food preparation, I was especially impressed with the outstanding service. Even though there was a line of people waiting to be seated, we were never hurried. Our dishes were served one at a time and timed such that after we had sampled a bit of one dish, the next dish was brought to the table. This could not have been a better way to enjoy a meal with longtime friends.
Slanted Door Spring Rolls (shrimp, pork, and mint in soft rice noodle wrap, with peanut dipping sauce):
Day Boat Scallops (pan-seared, served with spinach and spicy pineapple-coconut sauce):
Shaking Beef (cubed filet mignon, cooked to your preferred "doneness", with watercress and red onion and served with a lime dipping sauce):
Cellophane Noodles with Dungeness Crab Meat:
Caramelized Tiger Prawns (with garlic, onions and chili sauce):
Beignets with Cinnamon Sabayon:
Slanted Door is open every day for lunch and dinner. Reservations are advised but drop-ins can eat at the bar or cocktail lounge as space is available. If you do find yourself in the neighborhood without a reservation, it won't hurt to stop in to see if there might be a table available...you could luck out as one of my friends recently did at lunch hour; she was seated almost immediately.