For the past few days, I have been away from my lovely yet chaotic home in New York City and have been traveling in San Francisco. Unfortunately, this trip has been for business and I am currently in a hotel room without a kitchen. No homemade goodies this week to share. However, I think the trade-off of homemade goodies for San Francisco’s culinary experience may be well worth it.
Last night dinner was at The Slanted Door, a Vietnamese, Asian fusion restaurant located in the Embarcadero neighborhood. Restaurant is owned by executive chef, Charles Phan. The atmosphere and service was perfect for our group of six. Not to mention they even equipped us with our own Sommelier!
Everything at the restaurant was served family style which allowed us to try several dishes. Appetizers were nothing short of spectacular. We started out with the vegetarian spring rolls, crispy imperial rolls, bánh nam, crispy baby fava beans, and a complimentary house serving of the wood oven roasted manila clams. They all had amazing combinations of flavors but what stuck out to me most was the last dish presented to us, the wood oven roasted manila clams. Its menu description of “thai basil, crispy pork belly, and fresh chilies” barely does justice in describing the rich flavors the dish encompasses. I am not the biggest clam fan, but the baby clams sat in a broth filled with leeks and all kinds of spices that made it so good, everyone at the table started doing shots of the broth out of their empty clam shells! The added texture and saltiness of the pork belly paired well with the softness of the clams.
For the main course, we ordered everything from cellophane noodles filled with Dungeness crab meat to liberty farm spiced duck breast with a pomegranate hoisin sauce. Again, the fireworks came when the last dish was presented, the mesquite grilled range brother Berkshire pork chop. Tender and perfectly cooked, the pork chops were melt in your mouth incredible. They were seasoned with spices that had a distinctive kick and would quickly awaken your palate. Each piece of meat was topped with the ever slimmest slice of a pink lady apple. The acidic crispness of the apple sliver impeccably counter balanced the texture and spice of the pork chop.
The grand finale came with my favorite course, the dessert. We ended the meal with lychee cotton candy and doughnuts with a butterscotch dipping sauce. Soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, the doughnuts were made to perfection. With the sweetness of the butterscotch dipping sauce, there was no question I was going back for seconds.
Overall, my experience at The Slanted Door was five stars. If all of San Francisco’s culinary offerings are in line with this, I just may have to start planning more trips to this beautiful city!