Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Slanted Door

The Slanted Door, Vietnamese cuisine with a lovely view of the Bay

We'd tried to go to The Slanted Door on a number of previous occasions. Either they were booked for reservations, or had an extended wait for walk-ins, so we gave up and said, "Some other time." But with my parents in town and anxious to go, we made reservations for the Friday night after Thanksgiving and finally got to experience it.
The first thing we noticed is that they've opened a takeout counter inside the Ferry Building itself (the entrance to the restaurant is not inside the building but on the bay side of it). It looks like a good place to get quick carry-out Vietnamese; we mentally made a note to come back sometime for that (it's right across from our beloved Taylor's Refresher--spring rolls and milkshakes, anyone?).

The restaurant itself is lovely, with huge windows opening onto a view of the Bay Bridge and Oakland that sparkles at sunset and glitters at night. Inside, the decor is modern and spare, with green glass, red wood, and flowers accenting it strategically. We were seated in a semi-circular booth that meant that all of us had a good view of the windows.

Our serving staff were uniformly friendly, if not always attentive. We waited a long time between drinks and ordering our food, and the food, when we did order it, came out at unpredictable intervals. That said, it was delicious without exception, from the spring rolls with pork and shrimp to the green papaya salad to the lamb and the shrimp noodles. The eggplant was cooked just right, with a sauce that we liked, though we preferred the Japanese eggplant at Three Seasons for its coconut sauce. In fact, the quality of most of the food at The Slanted Door was on a par with Three Seasons. What The Slanted Door has going for it that Three Seasons can't compete with is the location, the view, and the ambiance. If you are in San Francisco, it's probably not worth driving down to Palo Alto. On the other hand, if you're on the peninsula, it's probably not worth driving all the way up to San Francisco.

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