I'm glad he did.
It was the second time J and I have been there. While he's not usually keen on Vietnamese food, the first time we ate there was was such an amazing experience that we knew we had to swing by the next time we would be in San Francisco.
We started off with a gorgeous tray of kumamoto oysters.
There are few things better in life than a small, briny oyster that's just a little sweet and super creamy. If you've never tried an oyster, I would definitely recommend either the kumamotos or the kusshi oysters.
Speaking of kusshi oysters (my personal favorite), we ordered those as well at the Slanted Door. Four tiny kusshi oysters were served on a bed of ice and topped with Chinese black olives and a preserved lemon relish. These were amazing on their own, but they're served with a side of grilled lamb sausage. The mix between the sweetness of the oyster and the savory, smokey lamb sausage was intensely flavorful.
We followed the oysters up with an order of oven-roasted clams that were served in a broth infused with Thai basil and pork belly. The clams were perfect--though it was the flavor of the broth that was really amazing. There was a richness to the broth (most likely due to the fatty pork belly...so delish...) that made these clams addicting.
After the appetizers, we focused on our entrees. We ordered the shaking beef, crispy egg noodles, and a side of nettles. Yes, nettles.
I'm really curious to see who (in their right mind) was like "why...nettles sting you, you say? I would LOVE to eat them." Turns out, nettles taste like if spinach and Chinese broccoli had a baby. Despite that, please, if you are going to forage for nettles, wear gloves and boil the heck out of them.
The crispy egg noodles were also pretty good; however, they were pretty standard. The seafood was fresh, the egg noodles were crisp, and the sauce was terrific. Unlike sub-par restaurants, eating this didn't make me feel sluggish.
Finally, the shaking beef.
There's something delightful about filet that has been seared to a perfect medium rare and in a sauce that's complex--salty, sweet, acidic. They actually call it shaking beef because there is a point in creating the dish where you add in the broth and shake the pan--it helps diffuse the flavors throughout the dish.
Mr. Phan, this is an open letter to you--please expand your empire to Seattle. While I almost always crave The Slanted Door, I don't think I have enough airline miles to satisfy my fix.