Best Fancy Vietnamese San Francisco 2005 - The Slanted Door
Once the myriad fans of the Slanted Door's extraordinary high-style Vietnamese cuisine had gotten over the restaurant's two moves to increasingly upscale locations (from the Mission to Brannan Street to the Ferry Building) and braved the tedious reservation lines (complete with seven-digit confirmation numbers), they looked around and realized that the new airy, modern digs were pretty swell, the bay views were beautiful, and the food was as delicious as ever. Longtime favorites include the garlicky, spicy shaking beef made with Meyer Company Ranch meat; the cellophane noodles full of sweet Dungeness crab; the chicken clay pot in a caramel sauce with ginger and chilies; and fat squid stuffed with ground pork, tree ear mushrooms, and glass noodles. Daily specials have included a clear, fragrant broth stocked with fresh crab flakes and corn kernels and an exquisite stir-fry of fresh Florida gulf shrimp with English cucumber and oyster mushrooms. There are exciting cocktails and an intelligent wine list to complement your meal, and you can finish with such superb and unusual desserts as fluffy goat cheese cheesecake with sautéed Mission figs, Thai basil panna cotta in mango soup, and tiny soft sweet mung-bean dumplings in ginger broth.