The Slanted Door has become an iconic San Francisco restaurant. This hugely successful restaurant (one of the highest grossing in the state) has been popular for two decades, that’s right two decades, and will probably never go out of style.
The Slanted Door first opened in 1995 on Valencia Street in the Mission District and I actually remember coming here with my parents as a child all the time. It was a tiny cozy restaurant and I remember always loving the food especially since Vietnamese food wasn’t that popular and well known as it is today. Once gaining popularity, the restaurant moved 10 years ago to a prime location along the Embarcadero in the Ferry Building. The Slanted Door serves modern Vietnamese/California inspired food that’s simple but really tasty and satisfying. The extensive menu has so many options such as items from the raw bar, various rolls, soups, salads, and meat/seafood/vegetable dishes.
We started off with items from the raw bar. The scallop crudo was simple with clean flavors; sweetness from the scallop and brightness from the aromatic cilantro sauce. The yellowtail crudo was light and refreshing with crunchy fried shallots, fresh lime juice, and Thai basil.
Another great appetizer was the daikon rice cakes, a simple dish dressed in a sweet soy sauce that paired nicely with the slightly bitter daikon cakes.
One of my all time favorite dishes here is the crispy vegetarian imperial rolls (a must order). These lightly fried rolls stuffed with taro root and cabbage are the base for the lettuce wrap and topped with vermicelli noodles, roasted peanuts, and tons of herbs, paired with a delicious dipping sauce. So good.
The barbecued pork spareribs were tender and slathered with a honey hoisin sauce. Delicious!
Another favorite is the caramelized wild gulf shrimp; sautéed shrimp in a caramelized chili sauce with garlic and yellow onions.
Another signature dish is the shaking beef, a crowd pleaser. Sautéed tender cubes of filet mignon (caramelized on the outside with a medium rare inside) with herbaceous watercress, sharp red onion, and a crazy refreshing lime sauce. Get it.
There’s also tons of vegetable side dishes and the eggplant is a pretty tasty one.
All three desserts we tried were yummy but the snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches was on another level.
The Slanted Door will always be a favorite of mine, perhaps for nostalgic reasons, but it’s a great restaurant for any occasion so my rating is a 7.5/10.