Since moving to San Francisco, The Slanted Door was on our list of places to go. However, whenever I looked at the menu, the price point did always lead me to think that maybe it would be better for dinner. There was a time that we almost went for lunch when I had a friend visiting from London, but last minute, due to her relatives, we switched locations (which was unfortunate, it would have let to an Asian food quadruple feature weekend of Vietnamese, Thai, Indian and Chinese, but a triple feature is still good). It’s also fairly consistently booked, so when I decide on the day that I’m not in the mood to cook (or just been drinking too much), there is never availability. So finally, we just decided to just book it in advance to give it a try, so we headed over there on Hallowe’en to see if it was really as good as we had been led to believe.
The place is decorated fairly well for a restaurant in the Ferry Building. The seating is a bit strange though, as they seem to prefer large parties, and even though it was fully booked, it really seemed like there were a lot of empty tables. Our table was at the end of a large communal table, but they told us from the beginning that half of the table was ours, so we didn’t need to worry about someone encroaching into our personal space.
In deciding on what to drink, we decided that a few of the cocktails sounded really good, so we ordered the Carter Beats the Devil (a mezcal-based drink similar to a margarita with a hint of chili) and a Cocktail a la Louisiane (a rye-based drink with vermouth and absinthe). Both are definitely drinks that have ingredients we are huge fans of, so we were really happy that they had them on the menu. It also helped that they did end up to be as tasty as they sounded.
After browsing the menu, there were a few things that really jumped out at us. On the raw bar menu, there was a live scallop available, and since scallops are one of our favorite types of seafood, it was a no-brainer. I really wanted to try out the dumplings (which are more of the bao style with a crispy bottom), so we also got an order of those. Since the shaking beef is their signature dish, it seemed like an obvious choice for a main. We also decided to try the spicy squid and get a side of the five spice cauliflower to round out our main course (with a side of rice). We also decided on a bottle of red wine from their extensive and fantastic wine menu.
When the scallop arrived we were hoping, on some level, that it was literally going to be a quivering scallop on our plate (no not really), but it was actually served up sliced thinly with a very amazing sauce. It really was a great way to start, and we were hoping the rest of the meal was going to be of similar quality! The dumplings were also very tasty, although they looked quite basic without a lot of decorative folding or pleating. But I’d rather it be tasty than look fantastic, so I was really happy with them.
When our main courses arrived, they looked fantastic. I couldn’t wait to dig into that Shaking Beef. And it was really good. It had a really nice flavor. However, the restaurant does pride itself using Filet as the beef, so it is quite easy to overcook. While most of the pieces of beef were well cooked, a few were definitely overdone which was a slight disappointment. The squid was worse though. While it had a great flavor, only a few of the squid pieces were tender and most were slightly chewy. The cauliflower was also quite tasty. All in all, I did enjoy our mains, but I did feel like the food could be cooked slightly better. And perhaps that will just require better ordering.
The food was definitely good enough that I wanted to give a couple of the desserts a try! We shared the almond olive oil cake and the honey mousse. We also decided to try a few of the fantastic sounding dessert wines and ports on the menu. We’re always fans of red dessert wines, but there was also a white one I hadn’t heard of before so I needed to give that one a go (plus it was a suggest pairing for the cake). They were also touting a “dry Banyuls” which turned out to not actually be dry, but it still was a delicious Banyuls regardless. Both of the desserts were also amazing and the mousse reminded me of desserts that I had from Escriba in Barcelona. The mousse was in a half sphere with a delicious filling on the inside. I would highly recommend that dessert to anyone. They also have a dessert that is a bunch of small bites and a massive amount of cotton candy. And while I love little bites of dessert, I really didn’t want that much cotton candy, but it definitely seems like a popular dessert as I saw lots of tables with it.
The meal at The Slanted Door was excellent, although it is on the expensive side. I wasn’t convinced the price was completely worth it, but I do get that it’s in a very expensive location. It definitely wasn’t enough to turn me off from coming back, as the food was quite good and they have a pretty fantastic cocktail and wine list. It’s just not someplace I’ll be back to regularly. I think it would be better with more people as it would give us the opportunity to order more food and try a larger selection of dishes. Perhaps it will be a place to bring my parents when they visit. I do know that I had a great time with a great view of the Bay Bridge with some really good food and fantastic service.
The Slanted Door
1 Ferry Building #3
San Francisco, CA 94111