The Slanted Door - San Francisco, CA
Blargh, I'm so behind in posting! Anyone who knows anything (at least anything I am interested in) will tell you that The Slanted Door in its current incarnation is overrated and not nearly as good as when it was at its original location in the Mission. But having never eaten at the restaurant on Valencia, I have no grounds for comparison, so shall we?
House and vegetarian spring rolls share a plate. We also got some crispy imperial rolls stuffed with shrimp and pork, which were meant to be wrapped in a lettuce leaf and dipped into a tart, fish-based sauce. The appetizers round also included the grapefruit and jicama salad and seared scallops in a red curry sauce with a crisp Asian pear slaw. When we ordered our dishes, we were told restaurant served their food family style. This mean that the kitchen was going to prepare the dishes at their speed and they would arrive at the table in unorderly fashion. And because our party of 8 was seated at a 6-top, there was not nearly enough room for all the plates. Speaking of the plates, I got a chuckle out of the ceramics credit listed on the menu.
Oh, I nearly forgot my choice of appetizer. I narrowed it down to the oysters, the yellowtail and the clams with pork belly, chilies and basil. Though we were sharing plates around the table, I think this may have been the least popular dish cause I wound up eating most of it!
I was indecisive when it came to ordering my entree. The stuffed squid called out to me, but in the end, the grilled Arctic char won out. I should have listened to the squid, because this was the least enjoyable part of my meal. The cucumber, icicle radish and mint salad were overwhelmed by a too salty ginger-soy sauce of which there was way too much.
All was redeemed by dessert. This is the caramelized pineapple with a crème fraîche blancmange and basil gelée and it was one of the most delicious desserts ever. I was surprised by the composition. The pineapple chunks made for a rustic looking plate and I was expecting something more refined. The basil jelly perplexed me on every bite. It was light and watery but at the same time packed an intense, herby flavor. The blancmange was basically a bonus. Oh, look, there's even more deliciousness at the bottom. I also had bites of the chocolate midnight cake and coffee pot de creme.