The Slanted Door, San Francisco 10-2011

Of all my USA pre-bookings, this was one of the most anticipated. I maintain that San Francisco is the food capital of the USA and The Slanted Door was one of my happiest meals there.

I am partial to *modern* takes on Asian food and this was the only well reputed one I could find online (the others being Fatty Crab in NYC but having very mixed reception).

Being a large group, the prix fixe menu was left to two of us to decide from with some suggestions from the waiter. After much salivary debating, the final selections were:

- chilled greenlip mussels steamed in wine and lemongrass with roasted chili aioli
- grapefruit and jicama, red cabbage, pickled carrot, candied pecans
- barbecued willis ranch pork spareribs with honey-hoisin sauce
- mesquite grilled lamb sausage and kusshi oysters with chinese black olive and preserved lemon relish
- grass-fed estancia shaking beef, cubed filet mignon, watercress, red onion, lime sauce
- organic chicken claypot, caramel sauce, thai chili, fresh ginger
- wood overn roasted alaskan halibut with sweet 100 cherry tomatoes and thai basil
- hodo soy beanery organic tofu, with lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms and roasted chili

The desserts to top off were a couple of wads of fairy floss and a decadent rich chocolate roll, both of which were fun rather than fantastic, but a nice way to finish off the meal.

There were no bad dishes in the menu, only good and great ones. All had rich South-East Asian flavours that I savour the most. The most unforgettable was the Pork Spareribs with Honey-Hoisin Sauce - they were intensely meaty coated with a rich caramelised sweetness (and the only dish I can ever compare to my favourite Longrain's Crispy Fried Pork Hock). I also particularly liked the Grapefruit and Jicama salad as it was a nice contrast to the generally heavy cuisine of the USA, and the candied pecans made it more memorable than the typical Vietnamese goi salads.

Next time I would order several servings of the Barbecued Willis Ranch Pork Spareribs so I could have more than one to myself and eat my stomach cravings worth. I feel anything else would be quite safe in terms of quality, however I personally wouldn't get spring rolls or rice paper rolls as I don't see how a upmarket restaurant could make these particularly better and worth getting over more traditional establishments.

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