Restaurant: Slanted Door
Last visited: November 6, 2010
Location: San Francisco, California (Financial District)
Address: 1 Ferry Building #3
Price Range: $30-50USD, $50USD+
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 3 (from couple things I tried)
Service: 3 (at the bar)
- Phan family owned
- Voted San Fran’s “Best”
- Contemporary Vietnamese cuisine
- Vietnamese/Asian fusion
- Popular to locals/tourists
- Local ingredients
- Great for wine/cocktails
- Fine dining Vietnamese
- Ritzy atmosphere
- reservations recommended for dinner
- Patio seating
- Waterfront view
- Lunch and Dinner: Monday-Sunday
- Lunch: 11:00am – 2:30pm
- Dinner Mon-Thurs: 5:30pm – 10:00pm Fri-Sat 5:30pm – 10:30pm
**Recommendations: I don’t have any, because I didn’t try much. The signature items are Slanted Door Spring Rolls, Green Papaya Salad, Shaking Beef, Wood-oven roasted whole fish, and Sugar snap peas.
The Slanted Door is one of San Francisco’s most popular and famous restaurants. It specializes in contemporary Vietnamese and Asian fusion cuisine in a posh and modern atmosphere. When Sherman told me about the Slanted Door hype, my curiosity got the best of me. We were both in San Francisco for the 2010 Foodbuzz Food Blogger Food Festival and we decided to squeeze into the Slanted Door for a little afternoon tea time.
Since we are both Vancouver food bloggers we’re both quite familiar with Vietnamese food, Asian fusion food, and contemporary Asian food etc. We have quite the scene for this sort of thing and it reminded me of places in Vancouver like Terracotta Modern Chinese and Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, except the fine dining version. To be honest, this type of food isn’t really my thing, but I can appreciate it for what it is if the food is good and the value is there.
We sat at the bar for some drinks and a couple of their signature appetizers, which were the only items available for their midday lounge and afternoon tea. I appreciate the ambiance and waterfront view, but it’s something you’re definitely paying for. From an Asian perspective the food I tried was overpriced Vietnamese food although it was still tasty. However it was nothing out of the ordinary especially if you’re familiar with Vietnamese cuisine. It was almost like the Chau Kitchen + Bar (Vancouver, BC) of San Francisco, but even to a higher level.
If you want to try a few of their signature items and you don’t care for atmosphere, then just go to their Out the Door to-go counter located right next to Slanted Door. It’s their take-out place and everything is a couple dollars cheaper, although the menu is limited to the casual items. I am still curious to make a bigger dent in their menu, but I’m also not anticipating my next time there.
On the table:
- Huckleberry mint cooler, organic huckleberry, peppermint tea, lemonade $5USD
- I started off with a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated girly drink.
- It’s almost like a berry pink lemonade but sweeter more than it is tangy. I was expecting it to be made with 100% fresh fruit berry puree with actual berries and leaves in it.
- It was refreshing and cooling and I could taste the mint in it, but not really the tea part.
- I finished it in about 8 big sips, it was mostly ice… just like iced drinks at Starbucks.
- La Favorite rhum agricole ambre, lime, cane syrup, with dashes of Angostura and allspice dram, dusted with nutmeg; served on the rocks $11USD
- This was Sherman’s drink which was a very manly drink. It’s totally not for me so I’m biased.
- It was hard, and strong and a bit bitter and tart with a little bit of heat from warm cinnamon like spices.
- Green papaya with tofu, rau ram and roasted peanuts $11USD
- Yes it was quite pricey, but I actually would pay for it again. I love this salad and I have ordered it occasionally, but I enjoyed this version the best.
- It was beautifully executed and it had a ton of fresh ingredients.
- It’s a crunchy salad made with shredded green papaya, firm tofu, pickled cucumber and carrots, celery, jicama root topped with crispy fried garlic chips and toasted peanuts.
- It’s very refreshing and light without being too tiresome to chew. It’s savoury, but also nutty and pickled in taste and the dressing added a sweetness since the papaya is relatively neutral in flavour and not sweet for it being a fruit.
- The dressing was a classic sweetened fish sauce which is savoury, tangy and delicious, but this one was on the sweeter side. It’s not necessarily fishy tasting, but just deliciously savoury. I could have even used more fish sauce and even some Thai basil leaves for more aromatics.
The peanuts were crumbly and coated in a powder coating before they were deep fried and I which they were whole and roasted instead for a nuttier taste.
- Slanted door spring rolls with shrimp, pork, mint and peanut sauce $9USD
- Most people would say this is the most famous thing to try. I would recommend trying it at Out the Door since it’s the most overpriced Vietnamese salad roll I’ve tried to date.
- Yes it was tasty, well made and executed, but I could literally find the same thing at any good Vietnamese place for $3-5.
- The fresh salad roll was standard, tightly rolled and fresh, but I could have used more pork, although the one slice was tender.
The house made peanut sauce was the only different thing and it tasted more like a sweet and savoury sesame sauce to me with a little Hoisin sauce and some fish sauce. I did like this sauce and it was different than your standard sauce from most Vietnamese restaurants.
- Vegetarian spring rolls with tofu, shiitakes, cabbage, mint and peanut sauce $9USD
- This is funny. I actually commented on the Vegetarian Spring Rolls the couple beside me ordered. I didn’t ask, but the guy insisted us to try them since they were full and not eating the rest. I wasn’t embarrassed to accept the offer, but I think Sherman was lol.
- I actually liked this one better than the Slanted Door Spring Rolls since it was different and something I’m less likely to find at any other Vietnamese restaurants.
- It was crunchy from the jicama root and I liked the slight sweetness from the shiitake mushrooms with the aromatic mint and I felt like in had more ingredients rather than just plain vermicelli noodles like the Slanted Door Spring Rolls. These Vegetarian Spring Rolls were more flavourful.
- The peanut sauce was also different from the Slanted Door Spring Roll peanut sauce. It’s still sweet and savoury, but it was thicker and much tangier with a slight heat at the end, without actually being spicy. I have a feeling they still use fish sauce in it, but it’s vegetarian, so I hope they don’t.