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The Slanted Door – In swanky new digs on one corner of the Marketplace, this longtime favorite is done up in blacks and metals and laden with the noisily-echoing din of faux-Manhattan power chords. I hate it. No, scratch that, I despise the décor. But we’re not here for the ambiance, we’re here for the food and wine, and those (along with the always-excellent service, though our waiter does disappear for a while at meal’s end) haven’t slipped…much. It’s hard to say if the food lacks its previous excitement simply because I’m now used to it, but there’s a variable lack of verve that sometimes creeps into the old standards. Other dishes, however, are full of life. We’re here with Christian Miller and Bryan Loofbourrow, the latter of whom is perpetually dubious about Phan’s fusiony cuisine, and we’re also here late (the restaurant’s choice, not ours), which means our non-city dwellers have to cut their evenings a bit shorter than normal in order to not miss their late-night trains. All that caveated, we have a very nice time with a diverse selection of dishes and a somewhat less diverse selections of wines. As to the latter, that’s not a complaint. It’s just that we know what we like... (8/04)

Slanted Door – As is typical in its Ferry Building location, the restaurant is already packed to the metaphorical gills by 11:30 a.m., and the lunch rush hasn’t really abated much by our mid-afternoon departure. The kind of business they’re doing here is crazy – all the time, every day – and it is this, more than anything else, to which I attribute the general decline in quality I and others have noticed. This time, however, the food is…if not quite back to normal, then at least nodding at its former glories; more shockingly, and in a first for this restaurant at any location, there’s a service glitch: Theresa orders tea and they forget to bring it. Through all the vagaries of locale and cuisine, on thing that has always remained beyond excellent at The Slanted Door is the service, and while this minor infraction may have gone unnoticed at most other restaurants, here it stands out. Hopefully, it’s not indicative of a trend.

Plus, I still loathe the new design, which is both coldly stark and reflective of every single noise in the room.

Joining us are Bill Futornick (who we haven’t seen in ages), Stuart Yaniger (who we haven’t seen in a while), and Larry Stein (who we haven’t seen since last night). In our usual fashion, we limit the BYO and order from the restaurant’s always-stupendous wine list (again, with the bonus inclusion of the quote of the day). (4/05)

The Slanted Door – It’s possible that this restaurant has become too successful for its own good. Or maybe that’s just a selfish response, since it takes far too much lead time to get a table these days. One nice alternative is the bar, with a short menu and the full (and always excellent) wine list available via a very accommodating staff.

Of course, the wine lists brings its own problems. Or, more specifically, one overarching one: too many interesting options, such that it can be hard to narrow things down. (4/06)

Slanted Door – In need of a restorative (or perhaps purgative) wine experience, but with limited time before dinner, I power walk to the Embarcadero, in search of a wine bar that I know won’t ever let me down. And it doesn’t, as a grab the last seat in a restaurant that’s already getting very, very busy with early diners. (4/06)


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