The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Modern Viet @ Slanted Door, San Francisco

Cycling from downtown San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge and then across the bridge into Sausalito took up a better part of our second day in the city, and we were ravenous for dinner by the time we got back into San Francisco. Hubby was in charge of the itinerary during our 3-day stay in SF - a first in our years of travelling together, hopefully not the last - and once again he chose a winner for dinner. The nationally-acclaimed Slanted Door is located inside the Ferry Building, which was very convenient for us as the ferry from Sausalito docked right at the Ferry Building. As I wasn't the one who did the research, I didn't know what to expect except that it serves modern Vietnamese cuisine, and that it is immensely popular and highly rated. We were a little concerned about not having any reservations, and as expected, the restaurant was already buzzing and appeared full with all 175 seats taken. However luck was on our side, as we'd arrived quite early for dinner on a weekday, and we were soon seated at a table not far from the entrance.

Full house at Slanted Door at 6pm on a week day:

The restaurant had a vast dining room, and the interior decor was modern and bold with clean lines. The service we received was great, and our waiter was happy to give some recommendations when we needed some help. Despite the full house and the large number of patrons, we were not rushed through our meal and everything appeared to be running smoothly. The menu had the day's date printed on it, so I suspect that the Slanted Door's menu is dynamic and dishes change on a daily basis. The cost is on the pricey side, but the restaurant uses organic produce and ecologically farmed meat, which I think is fantastic. We enjoyed everything we ordered, and I think the food is well-priced considering the high standards of service and food quality, the waterfront location, and the fact that Slanted Door supports sustainable practices.

Grapefruit and Jicama Salad with red cabbage, pickled carrot and candied pecan (US$12) - I really liked this crunchy salad, and I made a mental note to try and source jicama in Hong Kong since it is a key ingredient in a few of my favourite foods:

Mesuite Grilled Becker Lane Pork Belly with red leaf lettuce, shiso, lemongrass and spicy gingered tamarind sauce (US$18) - tender and juicy pork belly that we wrapped inside the leaves (we weren't sure of the right way to eat it). This is big on flavour especially with the gorgeous flavour imparted by the shiso and the gingery tamarind sauce. I'm a big fan of eating using my fingers, so this gets my thumbs up:

Organic Chicken Claypot with caramel sauce, Thai chili and fresh ginger (US$19). This was a homey and rustic dish that our boy loved. Need a bowl of rice to soak up the delicious broth:

Pan-seared Day Boat Scallops with braised frisée, chili-lime butter sauce and rau ram (US$28). The creamy butter sauce paired nicely with the scallops, which were large and juicy and seared to perfection:

No meal with hubby is complete without dessert, and there were a handful of desserts on offer. All five desserts looked interesting, but the most innovative one was the Hot Chocolate Croquettes with avocado ice cream and sweet chili jam (US$10). It's an unusual combination of flavours, but strangely it worked. The hot chocolate croquettes was crispy on the outside with a dessicated coconut coating, and oozing with liquid dark chocolate in the middle. Lovers of chili-flavoured chocolate will love this dessert. The avocado as an ice cream flavour was probably a take on the Vietnamese avocado milkshake, and I liked it!

Hot Chocolate Croquettes with avocado ice cream and sweet chili jam:

The dark chocolate center of the croquettes oozing out:

I saw cotton candy on the dessert menu, and I couldn't resist getting one. We thought our boy would enjoy the fluffy candy, but I should have known better since he's rather picky about textures, and he refused to touch it. It was extremely sweet, and proved too much of a sugar overload after the hot chocolate croquettes.

Bergamot Orange Cotton Candy (US$5):

We had a great dining experience at Slanted Door, and I highly recommend it. There is Out The Door located adjacent to the restaurant in the same building, which is the more affordable and take-out cousin of the Slanted Door. We will definitely make an effort to try the food at Out The Door next time we're back in San Francisco.

Slanted Door
Marketplace Shop #5
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States
Tel. +1 415 861-8032

The Slanted Door on Urbanspoon


  1. that candy floss and choccy croquettes look amazing! And that salad given me inspiration to try my own!

  2. I do like Asian salads for the combination of sweet, sour and tangy, and the crunchy texture :) Hope your salad turns out well!