Observations on Food in the Bay Area
The Slanted Door
website - in the new SF ferry building. Long had I heard the praises of this Vietnamese fusion restaurant, and yesterday I got to sample its wares. The result? It's certainly good, but didn't live up to the reputation.
First, quite a nice wine list, clearly well chosen to pair with their food. Lots of white, including a great selection of riesling and other light, crisp, fruity wines. We had a bottle of Dr. Loosen - a reliable, very tasty German winemaker. Light, refreshing, crisp, yet suprisingly sweet for a riesling, bordering almost on what you'd expect from a gewurtz. Paired very well with all of:
vegetarian & Slanted Door spring rolls - tasty in a light, wrapped, fresh spring-roll sort of way. The pork in the Slanted Door rolls wasn't too great, in my opinion, however. Tasty peanut dipping sauce made up for a lot, though.
grapefruit & jicama salad - crisp, light, and refreshing. Good salad.
Meyer Ranch shaking beef - mixed. Some of the chunks of beef were cooked flawlessly - perfectly medium-rare in the center and wonderfully melt-in-your-mouth good, with a great grilled surface; really nice. Some, however, were overdone, notably tougher, and somewhat disappointing.
mesquite grilled Potter Farm pork loin - also mixed. The best slices were truly fantastic. A wonderful marinade, and perfectly just-barely cooked. Really wonderful. The worst slices were mostly bone/gristle/tendon/fat with hardly enough meat on them to enjoy.
stir-fried chicken breast - while this bore a striking similarity to Chinese dishes I generally find overpowering and unenjoyable (like cashew chicken) it was suprisingly tasty, and the nuts made a good accompaniment. Definately not my favorite, though.
cellophane noodles with fresh Dungeness crab meat - marvelous. Exactly what I'd hoped and expected. The noodles were light, and had just enough flavor to enhance the wonderful crab meat. Really really good.
pan seared day boat scallops - quite tasty, with a good sauce and cooked spinach accompaniment.
sugar snap peas with maitake mushrooms - great! And of course the added garlic makes everything better.
They've got a great tea selection (though they were out of Jasmine. ?! At a Vietnamese restaurant? yeesh), though the teas are by no means cheap, they're tasty and a nice conclusion to dinner.
All in all, the meal was certainly tasty. The new restaurant is enormous, but their choice of chairs was horrible, as they make this awful screeching sound when they scrape across the stone floor. The most disappointing aspect was the variability of the dishes. Not sure if this is still a residual effect of getting used to the size of the new space, but it was unfortunate.