I don’t come to the City by the Bay only to eat, but it’s a dandy reason to stay awhile. So here I am, starting with a lunch of outstanding Vietnamese food in The Slanted Door. A few raindrops slide down the wide windows, giving a watery view of the Bay Bridge and ferries chugging back and forth, while we feast on grilled tiger prawns, rice noodles with chicken and broccoli, and other delectables. Plus several glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. Our waiter, Sam, has again steered us in the right direction.
The Slanted Door is in the restored Ferry Building by the Embarcadero. It seats 150 people, plus 44 more on the heated patio, and it’s always packed (we reserved a table 4 weeks ago). Executive Chef Charles Phan and his collaborators know what they’re doing, serving fabulous food in a festive but never rushed atmosphere. Later, we stroll around the Ferry Building shops, browsing in the Book Passage and the stalls that offer honey, exotic mushrooms, chocolate, pastries and a thousand other treats. Then we amble up the viewing platform to admire the bay and city skyline.
Suddenly it’s time for dinner, and here we are at a new hot spot, Sons & Daughters. This downtown place, on Bush Street, is headed for stardom. It has a modern black and white setting with crystal chandeliers for contrast, waiters all in black, and incredibly good service that’s attentive but not smothering. And the food, oh my. Here’s my 4-course fixed price meal: An amuse-bouche (a complimentary starter, in case you’re wondering) of delicate oysters on the half-shell. Beet soup with creme fraiche. Sablefish with watercress puree and honey-lemon foam. I know, it sounds precious, but the foam adds a nice citrusy touch. Salad on curds and whey–Little Miss Muffet isn’t the only one who gets c&w–and dessert of persimmon cake with fennel ice cream. Plus a spoonful of strawberries with vanilla powder. Also, there’s a diverse wine list. On the downside, no decaf coffee is served.
The young owner/chefs Teague Moriarty, Matt McNamara, and Lindsay Fair trained in a San Francisco culinary school, and Matt traveled in Europe developing the cuisine. They learned their craft well. It’s pricey, but I’ll be back. Next post: the other 2 irresistible SF restaurants