The Slanted Door
1 Ferry Building No. 3
San Francisco, CA 94111
Twenty years ago, The Slanted Door opened its doors in the Mission to rave reviews. Ever since, it’s been consistently listed as one of the top restaurants in San Francisco. It’s acclaim is so good that when it moved to its massive current space a decade ago, people had to reserve weeks in advance for a seat. While it doesn’t take weeks in advance to reserve a seat now, reservations for an optimal time can still be difficult. A couple weeks before my party planned to eat their, the reservation time choices were less than optimal with either a 5:30PM or 9:30PM seating option (we opted for the 9:30PM).
Despite the sub-optimal reservation time, we were all very excited to eat at the Slanted Door. After all, the Slanted Door has a reputation of serving impeccably cooked Vietnamese food while consistently innovating (it’s current menu is a bit different than its original menu). So after ordering a few cocktails, we dove right in into ordering and eating the following dishes:
- Daikon Rice Cakes – These daikon cakes were basically a Vietnamese version of 蘿蔔糕 (fried daikon cakes) served atop a thin layer of soy-based sauce. These were pretty good overall, with a nice crispy exterior and soft, steamed daikon interior.
- Organic Chicken Claypot – While the chicken was pretty tender and juicy, the dish was one of least successful dishes on the table. The caramel, thai chili, and ginger sauce was a bit watery and a little bland.
- Wood Over Roasted Branzino – In contrast to the claypot, this dish was divine. I absolutely loved the tender flakiness of the fish and the crispiness of the skin. The chili sauce on the side was a nice, light way of flavoring the fish.
- Hodo Soy Beanery Organic Tofu – The chili sauce, mushrooms, and fried pressed tofu matched each other very well in this pretty simple stir fry.
- Hodo Soy Beanery Yuba Noodles – This was a table favorite. For me, I loved how the slight spiciness of the sauce flavored the noodles. It reminded me of my mom’s version of 螞蟻上樹 (sans meat). Albeit, I would say the dish was a little more oily than my usual liking.
- All Star Farm Rainbow Chard – This was another crowd pleaser. I loved the flavor of the rice wine, shallot, and garlic sauce which the rainbow chard soaked up perfectly.
- Earnie’s Pride Brussel Sprouts – The brussel sprouts were cooked a little more than my liking. The dish’s flavors were okay and I enjoyed it, but not sure if I’d order it again.
- Earl Gray Tea Pot De Crème – I’m no expert in European desserts, but this was excellent and I’m not sure if there was even one lick left when we finally departed.
- Coconut Mousse – I thought this was pretty good, but it unfortunately didn’t compare to the amazing chocolate mousse that the group had a few days earlier in a cooking class.
One thing I would like to add is that their drinks were pretty good too. I’m not normally a cocktail drinker, but the sips I took from my friend’s cocktails were pretty great. Additionally, they also offer Hong Kong Milk Tea. While I was initially skeptical, as most non-Cantonese places in San Francisco seem not to use strong, black tea, the version they had was pretty good. In fact, one of my friends kept draining my cup.
All in all, the food was fantastic and I can see why it still keeps its highly regarded reputation to this day. That said, it’s also a bit pricey. I thought it was worth it overall and I’d definitely go again.