Out the Door - The Ferry Building Plaza - San Francisco
(including the embarassing tale of being stuck in my 'pants')
(if you can't be bothered with reading, scroll down the page for more pictures)
Have I been to The Slanted Door? No, well yes. Well, yes and no. Long before I lived in San Francisco, or even America for that matter, I read about Charles Phan and his Mission-district Slanted Door restaurant in a British Food Magazine. Needless to say, my appetite was whetted and when I found myself spending a little long-weekend vacation in San Francisco in the late 90's I made sure I paid Charles' famous eaterie a flying visit.
I don't remember the slightest detail about the food I consumed on that occasion. The only thing I recall about the entire evening is my embarassing bathroom saga. In those days I would have called it a toilet saga but I am since Americanized enough to have left all toilets behind me. On that night I was wearing some bright red satin pants. No, I mean trousers. (What my pants looked like is absolutely none of your business). The trousers were made from chinese fabric, embroidered with little flowers. Cute. At one point I was a little bit desperate and off I went to find the bathroom. As I recall, there was just one, at the back of the restaurant, up a couple of little steps to the left, door on the right, near the kitchen. It was nothing fancy.
I locked the door behind me and proceeded to try and undo my zip. I tugged, I wrestled, I pleaded, I coaxed, I eased, I begged, I think I even even prayed. Nothing would budge that wretched zip. It just would not slide, not even a millimetre. I think I was in the john for at least 15 minutes trying everything I could think of to get out of my pants. No such luck. Nothing whatsoever worked. Eventually, I gave up and decided to return to the dinner table where I would simply have to cross my legs and come up with another plan.
The most excrutiatingly embarassing moment of all was when I opened the bathroom door to find that approximately half of the guests in the restaurant were politely queueing up outside the door silently begging for me to be done with my business. Not that I had even had the chance to do any business. I felt all their eyes studying, nay piercing, me as I exited, each of them wondering exactly what I had been up to, in there, for so, so long. My blushing cheeks turned as hot a crimson red colour as my pants, erhmm, I mean trousers.
Needless to say, I have been wary of the Slanted Door ever since. Now I am local myself, I sense a love hate relationship between San Franciscan's and one of the area's most celebrated Chefs. 'Sold out', 'gone down hill' and 'overrated' are the kind of sentiments I have seen describe this restaurant in its swanky new Ferry Building location. I did try and secure a walk-in lunch there with a couple of friends a year ago but the wait was just too long. I am not really organised enough or smitten enough to go to the bother of making an advanced reservation, so until now my only perspective on The Slanted Door has been a distant memory that was perhaps better off being forgotten.
Despite the negativity, I was still interested in revisiting the Slanted Door's food. Afterall it is always better to make up your own mind rather than rely solely on the opinions of somebody else. So I was pleased to learn about the opening of Out the Door, The Slanted Door's new takeout arm next door. Serving the same sort of menu as its big brother, albeit more limited, in large takeout cartons, items are available to eat outside of the building on a bench or table. Alternatively take to go and eat in the privacy of your own home (where you can even sit and eat your dinner on the loo if you are so inclined...)
I was totally excited by the sound of a Crispy Duck special at Out the Door last Sunday. In the UK, Crispy Aromatic Duck, which I am absolutely crazy about, is on the menu at just about every Chinese restaurant in the country. But here in the Bay Area I am yet to discover it. (Peking Duck is not the same thing.)
It turned out that this was nothing like the Crispy Duck I yearned for, but it was delicious nevertheless. The meat was tasty and succulent, the fat was indeed crispy on the outside and flavourful. The meat was lying on a bed of apples and watercress which were shimmering and glistening, having been soaked in the fat dripping from the duck. The broken rice was perfectly cooked, it tasted so creamy, it melted in my mouth. A little carton of brown juice, which I think may have been duck juice, soaked into the rice giving it a powerful savoury flavour. Yum.
The Grapefruit and Jicama Salad with Candied Pecans was not as exciting. The sparse scattering of plump juicy supremed slices of pink grapefruit were as sweet and suculent as they could be, but once they'd been eaten the rest of the sald was without any pizzaz. Although the dressing was good, the jicama was pushed out of the limelight by an overwhelming excess of red cabbage and carrot which was more of a chore, than a pleasure, to chew on.
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
This review was a first impression
|Just Added! From July 2005 on Becks & Posh: My visit to the Slanted Door with San Francisco's Restaurant Whore|
|Out The Door gets a mention by other bloggers:|
The Slanted Door also gets a great write up from visiting Foodblogger, Reid, from Ono Kine Grindz in Hawai'i. Plus - news just in - tips on how to get a table at the SD any time, trouble is you have to be a Restaurant Whore to do so. More on her long, up & down relationship with Charles Phan here.
Charles Phan's new Out the Door takeout kits, for preparing a Slanted Door meal at home were announced in the Chronicle yesterday. The Bay Area Bites Blog tested out the shaking beef.
posted in Food and Restaurants and San Francisco and Ferry Building and First+Impressions
Out the Door - The Ferry Building Plaza - San Francisco