Sunday, September 4, 2011

Restaurant Review, The Slanted Door: Neo-Vietnamese Cuisine

I visited Vietnam for the first time in September 1996. I was impressed in many ways, but I was impressed most by their cuisine. My friend, who was stationed in Ho Chi Minh City, took to me several restaurants he knew. The food I experienced in those restaurants was excellent. Their dishes were very well presented and visually enjoyable. The spring rolls, which were made rice paper, were fresh and lightly seasoned; they were best suited for people had newly arrived in the country and who were tired after their long airplane ride. Chicken-based rice noodle soup was also lightly salted and tasty. Later I learned that the Vietnamese are proud of their cuisine since it is a mixture of Chinese, French, and native Vietnamese influences. Their pride is quite understandable.

Although it is not easy to find an authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Japan, I have found many good Vietnamese restaurants in San Francisco and in the Bay Area. They are generally good; however, I was looking for something more. There had to be a restaurant in this area that served the same amazing food I tasted in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

It was my wife who told me about the Slanted Door after hearing about the restaurant from her Vietnamese friends. I would have liked to have known the reason for the Slanted Door's impressive name, but there was nothing on its website to tell me the reason behind it. The restaurant is located in Ferry Building 1, near the Bay Bridge, and has very good views of the Bay Bridge. There is a bar to the left of the entrance.

The dining floor is located along the bay coast, and there is patio dining outside. The interior of the restaurant is modern and futuristic. I like how the windows facing the bay coast bring in sunshine.

The dining was superb. My wife ordered spring rolls for an appetizer, and I ordered the green papaya salad and oyster. My wife ordered noodles with crab meat for her main course. I ordered the restaurant's famous "shaking beef." My wife loved her meal. She later told me that the restaurant had the best Vietnamese-style dishes she had ever had. My oysters were fresh and tasty, and I loved my beef dish. The meat was tender and juicy. The sauce was the combination of fruity sweet, Vietnamese-style spicy sauce, and a little bit of sour vinegar. I told my wife how good the beef was and she became interested in my dish, although she does not usually eat beef. She tried some and ended up eating half of it.

The only problem with this restaurant is that it is very popular and crowded. Since we went there without a reservation, we needed to kill more than one hour before we got our table. Though it was worth the wait, we recommend making a reservation for lunch and dinner.

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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. the meal sounds delicious and well worth waiting for - next time you'll make a reservation.

Busy popular restaurants usually do excellent food - they have to! Like you I love the name - perhaps next time you can find out how and why they called it that ..

Cheers - and enjoy your Labour day weekend .. Hilary

Shaw said...

Hi Hilary, Thank you for your comment. Yeah, you definitely need to make a reservation. Later I heard that there were some visitors waited for more than 2 hours. I will find out the reason for the restaurant name.

Thank you, again!!!
Shaw Funami