Friday, November 17, 2006

The Slanted Door

New York has The Spice Market but San Francisco has the Slanted Door, and I have to say The Slanted Door is pretty amazing. Located at the Ferry Plaza with wonderful views of San Francisco Bay, it is always full—all 180 seats--even at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Monday! There wasn’t even a seat at the bar which must accommodate at least 40. San Franciscans take their eating seriously and their loyalty to this restaurant is unwavering. I can understand why.

The cuisine of The Slanted Door is Vietnamese and every bit as good or better than a small spot in Paris that I used to think was the best of its kind. Among other virtues, The Slanted Door, unlike that Paris place, has a great wine list that has been selected to complement the complex flavors of Vietnamese food. When two men next to me at the bar ordered chardonnay, the lovely bartender patiently explained that they didn’t serve chardonnay and offered them the wine list to make another choice. Being a bossy boots, I had to chime in and tell these guys why chardonnay does not work with this food. Instead I suggested a glass of the Riesling from Praeger. Of course I was right. They tried it and they loved it.

Now to the food. The Slanted Door’s spring rolls with shrimp, pork, mint, and peanut sauce are the best I’ve had because they make them large and cut them in pieces so you get more filling than dough and you can really savor the shrimp and pork. Even the lettuce and mint is extra tasty. Since I did not want a big lunch, I also ordered the shrimp and pork wonton soup with five spice pork and egg noodles. I love wonton soup when it is good and this one blew me away. The broth was incredibly rich and flavorful, the wontons had more filling than noodle, and the five spice pork was exceptionally flavorful. My favorite touch was the fried pork cracklings sprinkled on top.

I drank a glass of the Riesling, Praeger Federspiel “steinriegl’ which was magnificent.

They also have an excellent list of seductive cocktails. I had to order one when I spied someone having an irresistible looking drink of Kaffir Lime Vodka, ginger, and lime juice on the rocks. I took only a few sips but it was delicious.

The prices also make this place a great draw. There is no dish over 18.00 dollars, and most are a lot less than that. It’s great value for great quality. Can’t wait to go back.

The Slanted Door
1 Ferry Building #3
Embarcadero & Market
San Francisco, California


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