Finally, finally, finally. I’ve wanted to dine at Slanted Door for literally years, but somehow, the opportunity never presented itself. (And yet, Tracey’s eaten there at least three times in a little more than a year since we’ve moved back. Doubleyouteeeff?) Today, though, with just an hour and a half until showtime at the Embarcadero Center, we took a chance and scurried over to the Ferry Building sans reservations.
And our gamble paid off, but just barely… because the joint was PACKED. At 6:00pm. On a Monday. In fact, we very nearly ended up sharing a table with another couple. Happily, our hostess managed to dig up a two-top just in the nick of time. Popularity, thy name is Slanted Door.
While reading through the compact menu, I asked Tracey for any recommendations. She demurred, stating that “everything I’ve ever had has been delicious”. Well alright, then! We opted for the Yellowtail crudo, Crispy Imperial Rolls, the baby back ribs, the day boat scallops, and an order of the bok choy.
The yellowtail crudo was topped with crisp-fried shallots and tiny slices of Thai basil (Sadly, my hunger got the best of me and I once again failed to take any pictures.) The dish functioned as a mild dexterity test: can you, using chopsticks, successfully eat this small slice of fish placed flat on a plate with flavor shavings on top? (Hint: try folding it over first.) The taste was worth the effort, though. I the simplicity of dishes like this — just three or four ingredients combined in way that you can appreciate the flavors both individually an as part of the whole.
The Crispy Imperial Roll was up next, and it was fresh, delicious, and exciting. Too exciting, it turns out. It came with an unexpected extra: a small, live worm that had been nestled among the mint leaves. Now, I’m not really the squeamish type, and so I found this discovery to be more amusing than disgusting. At the same time, I consider the presence of insects in my food to be a mistake on the kitchen’s part, and have certain expectations about how servers should behave in this situation. Suffice to say that explaining that the produce is organic and as a result this sort of thing “happens sometimes” in a blasé and vaguely condescending tone does NOT meet my minimum requirements. (For the record, profuse apologies and an offer to take that dish off of the bill do meet the requirements. Squealing and dropping the plate in horror is a nice touch, but not strictly necessary.) To her credit, our server did offer to replace our order of imperial rolls, but the awkwardness of the situation lingered over the rest of the meal.
I thought the barbecued spareribs were delicious, but Tracey found them a bit sweet for her tastes. The scallops were excellent; lightly seared and served in a very tasty pineapple coconut milk sauce. We opted to eat rice with this dish, and I would have liked a slightly more viscous sauce to stick to the rice. The Bok Choy was prepared with shiitake mushrooms and nice enough in its own right, but probably wasn’t the best choice to pair with the scallops.
In the end, the Crispy Imperial Roll did not show up on the bill, but our server never bothered to make it clear whether that was by design or just an oversight. And at this price range, (the final bill, including two glasses of wine, came to $100) leaving the customer to wonder whether or not you, the server take his concerns seriously is just unacceptable.
Despite that, I’ll still go back to Slanted Door. There are plenty more things on the menu that I’d love to try. But maybe next time, we’ll sit at the bar.
1 Ferry Building #3
San Francisco, CA 94111
+1 (415) 861-8032