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Slanted Door Review


Schneier
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I know some people who work at the bar here, so I'm not the most unbiased opinion...

My favorites at Slanted Door are the raw bar items and appetizers.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 5 months later...

My parents and I keep on meaning to hit this place and never actually remember to make the reservation. Far as I can tell from these posts, it ain't worth the extra trouble when we could easily obtain a delicous six buck bowl o' pho from a zillion other (less fancy) contenders...

Le Colonial is just okay. It's gorgeous inside with a great "scene" feeling, and the service is good, but the food is definitely watered down Vietnamese. It's also very overpriced. I did enjoy the lamb chops, although I would advise skipping the fried rice and the spring rolls. Do check out the bar upstairs.

Honestly, the best Vietnamese food I've had is cheap stuff served in pretty funky dives. I swear to God, it makes everything taste better.

I will have to check out the schmancy drinks though. (21 next year! Yes!)

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, although I tried to convince our friends that there are better choices, they are DEAD SET on going here the day after Christmas. That being said, and having read this whole thread, are there any recent comments about what to order or what not to order?

We both like all types of Asian cuisine, and like different foods with taste and creativity. We like the more authentic types of foods...

I saw the comment about the raw bar being good. We're from Philly, and the thought of West coast oysters sounds marvelous...do they have that?

Philly Francophiles

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  • 4 weeks later...

We ate at Slanted Door for lunch on Dec 26th. Our friends from north of San Francisco really wanted to go there...after reading this thread, we didn't, but they wouldn't get the hint when we suggested other options.

Wandered around the food shops at the Ferry Bldg...and went to eat lunch.

Yes, our meal at SD was all rather underwhelming. Why?

The drinks were inventive and about $10 each, that was fine...also found a very respectable Bugey Gamay for $29? I think. Very inexpensive and tasty. Drinks were: an Elderberry and processco, a warm rum cider with star anise (this was the winner), a vodka with falernum (sp?) and lime, and one other that we can't recall.

They ordered a spring roll. Yawn. Spring roll in rice paper, done just as good for probably half the price or less at Vietnam Palace in Philly. There was a nice size shrimp in each bite.

Then a jicama and grapefruit salad with lots of red cabbage. Nice and fresh, but, Yawn...

The vegetarian crepe, Yawn, was pretty good, basic.

Then, our friend insisted on ordering the shaking beef. Ok, I don't know what that is, so maybe I missed the point. But: 1) what is all this fuss about paying premium price $26 and one of the highest menu items for Niman Ranch beef? I've had Niman before, and its okay, but especially this time, really didn't have any sort of extraordinary taste. AND: 2) it was way overcooked! We weren't asked how we liked it cooked, and it came out well done. Since we did not know what shaking beef meant, our conclusion would have been that it would be rare or shaking??

Lastly, we had the catfish claypot with caramel. VERY WEIRD. Sweet, and it just didn't work.

They left there raving, and we just looked at each other...San Francisco, I'm sure, has good ethnic cuisine that isn't this hyped. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to enjoy it, as we went north the rest of our vacation. (there will be more posts on Bouchon and other North of San Francisco places shortly)

-Oh, we had a Boudin soup and salad the first day-- and their sourdough bread was very good...

Philly Francophiles

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Just got back. We thought everything was very nice and appropriate for the price. But not great. Again, appropriate. had we paid more it would have been over priced. Started with the Hotel Nacional cocktail. Then we had the rack of lamb and chicken clay pot, brussel sprouts and Japanese eggplants. All good. I really enjoyed the pinapple green sichuan pepper dessert. It was interesting, well flavored, and nicely executed.

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I still don't get Slanted Door -- I find most of the food too sweet and over priced for my taste. It is consistently busy and oft-recommended, but it never shows up on my lists of great restaurants in this city.

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... too sweet and over priced for my taste.  ...never shows up on my lists of great restaurants in this city.
Whatever else is going on (restaurant changes, different tastes), there seems to be a broader problem when public praise of a restaurant builds image, without always realistically positioning the restaurant in readers' impressions. Preconception then colors their experience.

An example I know well is Chez Panisse, where already 25 years ago out-of-towners were showing a now-classic syndrome. (Is THIS what the hype was about? And I can't even get a cocktail! Harrumph.) You can find updated examples. One blogger made it to French Laundry, to be dismayed at various things, including none of those "extra courses" described by online FL fans. (Though she cited none of the factors I associate with "special" meals at high-end restaurants: advance agreement with the restaurant, history of dining there and building rapport, etc.) She couldn't get a cocktail either.

If I recall, Carolyn, Slanted Door became known because Bill Clinton ate there. As an almost-local, I know many people who've eaten there and had good experiences, though none described it as "great" (not to read too much into your word).

I don't know if there's a solution to the larger image-expectations issue though. It may be another basic restaurant-reporting challenge.

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Slanted Door became known because Bill Clinton ate there. 

I think that pegs it. It received its fame for something other than really exceptional food and the crowds have just followed suit that because it is always busy, it must be good.

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Slanted Door became known because Bill Clinton ate there.

I think that pegs it. It received its fame for something other than really exceptional food and the crowds have just followed

Based on all I've seen and heard of Slanted Door, I'm not sure that your assessment or others' sweeping assessments here of this restaurant, however sincere they are, do it justice. I believe the story is more complex. (That's part of what I alluded to as restaurant-reporting challenges.)

Though I may have expressed it poorly, there are many nuances and dimensions between "great restaurants of this city" and being known only because of Bill Clinton and crowds.

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Hey guys - for many of us tourists - "it's just lunch". And a pretty good one at that at a reasonable price. Is it a great restaurant? No. But it is a pleasant place to lunch if you're wandering around the Ferry Building (especially if you are on eastern time and eat lunch early before the crowds get there). FWIW - we had a decent meal there - and good service.

Also - I don't drink wine - but I do enjoy cocktails. And I don't drink at lunch. Which is why we did lunch at Chez Panisse (the cafe). Robyn

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