I purposely made a 9pm reservation on a Tuesday to avoid the heaps of people at Slanted Door every single day. Parking at the embarcadero took, oh, but 5 mins. I skipped across the street at the green light anticipating dinner because I was starving and I to (hopefully) consume a shaking beef (bo luc lac) dish that will finally complete me. (ok, I'm a drama queen.)
As I geared closer to the restaurant door I hear rumblings of chatter, the bar area is packed to the gills, the host area is hosting a mountain of luggage, and servers are bouncing back and forth from the kitchen with dishes. So. Slanted door is packed every single hour too.
I started the night with the $13 live Atlantic sea scallop with golden caviar and lime-cilantro vinaigrette, so fresh I can almost feel the throbbing scallops between my chopsticks, sweet and tender. The lime-cilantro vinaigrette made the dish, cool, tangy, freshly fragrant, I could drizzle it on all sorts of seafood. I was sad the dish was finished so quickly.
I enjoy raw beef whether it is tartare or carpaccio style I will order it from a menu. I could see my $12 Prather ranch beef carpaccio with roasted peanuts, rau ram and fresh lime juice from afar making its way to my table. The plate was overrun with two large pieces of black sesame seed shrimp-like crackers. The beef was pounded flat, a little too grisly and bland.
Who doesn't love hoisin sauce - sweet, tangy, rich and a beautifulyl glazed sheen. The $13 barbecued willis ranch pork spareribs with honey-hoisin sauce is about half of a slab and smothered heavy with hoisin. The sauce was a little too salty, almost with a bitter quality. The pork easily peeled off the bone without any effort. True to San Francisco style, each of the dishes will give the name of where the ingredients came from.
The dish I've been waiting for and #7 on The Big Eats 100 List, Niman ranch shaking beef cubed filet mignon, sausalito springs' watercress, red onions and lime sauce. Slanted Door does the dish right by serving it with watercress and sauteed onions. The dish is priced at $29, twice or even three times more than a local Vietnamese joint but it is quality. The meat is seared to a caramelized crust on all sides and still retained a pink color inside. Of course with filet mignon the beef is very tender, juicy and flavorful. The lime sauce is an additional bonus to this savory dish, Phan's shaking beef did complete me...
We continued the night with the $10 vegetarian glass noodles with tofu skin, black trumpet and oyster mushrooms. My mom makes this dish every Chinese New Year when we eat vegetarian for a day. The noodles are still bouncy but it's the flavor that reminds me of Chinese New Year.
The server surprised us with the $11 catalan farm white corn with green onions and chanterelle mushrooms, he recommended the dish but we passed in lieu of the noodles. He brought it to our table anyways "on the house" a nice gesture and a big thank you. The corn was naturally sweet with a "poppy" crunch and bits of dry sauteed mushrooms and a sprinkle of green onions to pick up the corn.
I ended the night with the $9 browned butter pound cake, vanilla ice cream and macerated raspberries. A standard dessert with something sweet to end the meal.
Beside the amazing shaking beef the I'm-still-dreaming item is the $5 Hong Kong hot milk tea with condensed milk. The tea is served in a blue ornate ceramic teapot with tea leaves still in the pot. The tea was rich and silky - silky like when you run your fingers through an expensive sheet of silk. I discussed the milk tea with KK from Chow. He told me it is as good if not better than Lan Fong Yuen milk tea from Hong (the birthplace of milk tea.) I searched for Lan Fong Yen milk tea and came across www.appetiteforchina.com blog and found a link to Lan Fong Yen's technique of making a perfect cup of HK milk tea.
1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA 94111
Chrysanthemum by Bonnibella is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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