June 2, 2010

HLFD in SF: The Slanted Door

Have you ever had a nice dining experience made so much better by one exceptional server? Well, after a long plane ride from NYC and 2 hours to kill before we could check into our hotel, we wandered over to the Ferry Plaza Marketplace in San Francisco to search for some good food.

It was a long holiday weekend and the first nice day in a long time, and so every restaurant was filled to the brim.  We walked into The Slanted Door and the host mentioned that they were no longer accepting seating at the restaurant but we could try for a seat at the first-come, first-served bar area.  We spotted one solitary seat in the middle of the bar, but the bartender attending the area seemed too overwhelmed to serve us (I sat there for 10 minutes trying to get her attention for a menu).  Luckily, my hubby spotted two seats about to become available at the end of the bar.  And this is when we met our new server Nathan, a calm but efficient bartender who despite the chaos of the crowd, made our meal experience great. 
Nathan was mixing up all sorts of drinks including Greyhounds (fresh grapefruit juice and vodka) and Bloody Marys (with Sriracha sauce instead of tobasco sauce).  But we were in the mood for some white wine, which he offered us in generous tastings and pours.
We had the 2008 Hirsch Riesling Zobing ($11.50 glass; crisp, dry, and had hints of green apple and apricot), 2008 HOGL Gruner Veltliner Federspiel ($10 glass; refreshing with grassy, herbal, and floral notes), Ayinger beer ($8), and a generous tasting of 2007 Carl Schmitt Wagner Riesling (Nathan offered it to us during our meal because he thought this sweeter riesling would pair well with our food).
Japanese Yellowtail ($16) with crispy shallots and thai basil was fresh and tart.
Caramelized Tiger prawns ($16) with garlic, onions, and chili sauce were plump, slightly sweet, and spicy.
We were still hungry and wanted to do a plate of spring rolls.  Nathan offered to serve us half portions of spring and fried rolls so that we could try more dishes.  We're glad we took him up on this option because we surprisingly ended up liking the fried rolls better.

We liked the spicy peanut sauce that came with the fresh Slanted Door spring rolls ($4.50 for half serving).  The mint also made the rolls with shrimp and pork taste light.
But we loved the Crispy Imperial Rolls ($5 for half serving) with pork, shrimp, glass noodles, and peanuts.  Maybe it was the twice-fried rice paper wrapper that made these rolls so addictive or the fun lettuce wrap method of eating these rolls, but we would order this plate again.
Both Nathan and the other servers also kept swapping out our plates and chopsticks throughout the meal (3 or 4 swaps!), making sure we always started with a clean slate.  This was a great way to start our San Fran trip!

 The Slanted Door is located at 1 Ferry Building #3 in San Francisco, CA.

Slanted Door on Urbanspoon


  1. The right server makes the meal... Worth their weight in caramelized onions!

    When in New Orleans, Arnaud's and ask for Aaron

  2. You were surprised to find you liked something fried better than not fried? Come on, Andrea!
    The entire place looks like I would die and go to heaven there. Love the name, too! Thanks for enabling me to be green with envy!

  3. Those tiger prawns...oh, those prawns. They look amazing! Thanks for highlighting this restaurant.

  4. Yummo - think might have to get there this August!

  5. The Slanted Door is one of my favorite restaurants in SF-I go there everytime I am in the city-I have yet to ever sit at a table.

  6. The carmelized prawns are fantastic, I couldn't agree more! I'm fortunate to be close enough to the Ferry Building that the default business dinners are usually held at Slanted Door. There is also a smaller post (Out the Door) in my neighborhood. Love!


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