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Slanted Door is Charles Phan’s nationally-acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant that anchors the north-east corner of the Marketplace. Welcome to Eater Elements, a series that explores the ideas and ingredients of noteworthy dishes. Open for nearly 20 years, the Slanted Door in San Francisco is nothing short of an institution.
While the dish was added to the restaurant's menu in 1996, the inspiration for the dish dates back further.
It didn't take long for Phan to turn his back on buying commodity meats, dropping them from his menu within a few years of opening.
Although the Vietnamese dish is more often made with flank, Phan goes for filet mignon, which is much more tender.
The final vegetable component of the dish is a bed of watercress from Sausalito Springs farm in Sonoma. The key pieces of equipment Phan uses to create the Shaking Beef are his commercial-grade range and the wok. Charles Phan moved to San Francisco in 1977 after his family fled from Saigon via  Guam in 1975, in the closing days of the Vietnam War.
The eight page wine list ranged in price from $32 to $1500, organised by style, with a nice selection of 28 German Rieslings. I was less taken with the signature Shaking Beef ("shaking" refers to the shaking of the wok when the dish is cooked), which comprised pieces of fillet steak on a bed of watercress, red onions and scallion, served with a lime sauce. While the food at Slanted Door offers interesting and well prepared dishes, with fine, fresh ingredients, if you dine here in the evening, be prepared for an ambient noise level that approximates low-flying jet aircraft. Unfortunately, many of San Francisco's highly rated restaurants are like this, so the discerning diner would be well advised to check ratings for ambient sound levels.
I would love to hear what you think of this website, if you found it useful or where it might be improved. Slanted Door is Charles Phan’s nationally-acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant that anchors the north-east corner of the Marketplace. Hanging out during the day at the Ferry Building got me to thinking about dinner time and where to eat in San Francisco near the Embarcadero.
As usual, where to eat dinner tonight was an impulse and so I was lucky when I phoned at 5pm to get a reservation for 3 that they could seat us at 7:30.
From the outside The Slanted Door doesn’t look as big as it is on the inside, and it is packed. Whether you visit them for lunch or make special plans for dinner I can not recommend enough booking yourself a reservation for a meal at The Slanted Door.
Marc Smith is a single, 45-year-old, gay urbanite, living in high-rise heaven in Vancouver’s chic Yaletown neighbourhood. A wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks the Bay in the contemporary, open-space design. For most of that time, chef Charles Phan has been serving what has become one of the most famous dishes in the city: Shaking Beef, a simple yet legendary stir-fry of beef and onion served over a bed of watercress.
Phan now only uses grass-fed beef, and he is currently buying from Estancia Beef, a large-scale grass-fed beef purveyor that is USDA-certified "natural." "We have a huge demand," Phan explains. The watercress isn't really prepped, rather it is laid on the serving platter to form a bed underneath the stir-fry.

He notes that the wok, combined with the higher power range, allows for fast and hot cooking that is basically impossible for a home cook to emulate. The sauce, like stir-fry sauce and the marinade, is quite simple: it's salt, pepper, and lime juice. He briefly studied architecture and worked as a salesman in the software industry before deciding to become a restaurateur. Example wines were Donnhoff Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Kabinett 2011 at $54 for a wine that you can find in a shop for $21, Leflaive Clavoillon Puligny Montrachet at $200 for a wine that will set you back around $120 in a wine shop, and there was one high end bargain for those with the means. Papaya salad had julienne of green papaya, shredded fine using a mandoline, along with fried tofu, a little shredded cucumber and celery, rau ram (a herb rather like a minty coriander) and a nicely judged spicy dressing.
The beef is marinated with seasoning, sugar and oil before being stir-fried in a wok with garlic, soy and mirin. I had an excellent waitress who helpfully suggested half-orders of several dishes so that I could try a few things, and thoughtfully inquired about my flight time when I mentioned that I was catching a plane after this meal.
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A wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks the Bay in the contemporary, open-space design.
Intimate tables of two up to celebrating parties of 10 or more then entire restaurant is packed and everyone seems to be having a great time. If this was the end of our experience at the Slanted Door I would leave a happy man but we still have our main courses to arrive.
If I lived in San Fran or if the Slanted Door was in Vancouver it’s safe to say I’d be a regular and I can guarantee I’d be ordering a plate of the Gau Choy Gow. It is the largest consumer golf & travel show in Western Canada and will have over 125 exhibitors, travel destinations, manufacturer’s representatives and demonstrators giving you everything you need to know about golf and travel.
After a ten-year career as one of Vancouver’s pre-eminent event planners, he decided it was time for a change and posted on his Facebook page “I am ready for a change.
Charles, owner and Executive Chef, first opened Slanted Door in the Mission District in 1995. This is a nod to, but not a direct copy of, the traditional bo luc lac preparation (luc lac refers to the sound of dice).
Along with onions, Phan also uses scallions from Wo Sing, a company that the Slanted Door has worked with since day one.
The stir-fry sauce is almost like a "finishing" component Phan says, added towards the end of the cooking process. He also adds a sliver of Straus Family Creamery butter to bring it together, and then tosses the ingredients. He said that when he served the dish with a wedge of lime, patrons would squeeze the lime over the dish and "ruin it." Instead, he created the sauce for them.
He opened The Slanted Door in the Mission district of San Francisco in 1995, and its success has now spawned a mini-empire of six other restaurants. Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 2002 was listed at $1,500 for a wine that costs around $2,674 retail at the time of writing. Charles, owner and Executive Chef, first opened Slanted Door in the Mission District in 1995.
Serving up some of San Francisco’s finest Vietnamese cuisine under the skilled hands of Chef Charles Phan since 1995, I think it would safe to say that The Slanted Door should be on your must try list when you visit the city, after all it is considered one of the best in the country.

For breakfast and lunch their patio will have great views of the Ferry boats coming and going with passengers for the other side of the Bay. Within a few mins of sitting down our cocktails arrive from the Bar and we cheers our night and day in San Fran.
Setting us up with his two favourites of the Slanted Door Spring Rolls and the Gau Choy Gow, wild gulf shrimp and green garlic chive dumplings. We’ve each ordered a different entree since they are all served family style which means we all get to share each others. There will also be presentations from Golf professionals, PGA Tour Pro Bryn Parry and Sports Journalists. The final component here is garlic, which Phan buys from Christopher Ranch, an organic garlic producer based in Gilroy, California. He sears on each side and "all four corners," and it takes about two to three minutes for the beef to get "crispy but not overcooked." After the meat is done, he drains the oil. After relocating to Embarcadero, The Slanted Door has for about a decade been located in the Ferry Building, having a large 175 seat dining room with views over the bay, with floor to ceiling windows. Also I am a bit inspired to experience a bit of Asian culinary mastery after I witnessed their amazing skill and some of their history at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. 30 Days In SF is just warming up for the upcoming Year of the Sheep, Chinese New Year celebrations to happen in mid-February. At night time this 300 seat restaurant is all about what’s happening inside the walls of The Slanted Door. My cocktail of choice to start the night off was a spicy Hot Buttered Rum to take the edge of the windy chill of the evening. Absolutely delicious, in fact we loved the dumplings so much we ordered a second plate  before we even finished the first one. Estancia Shaking Beef is my choice for entree which apparently is one of the most ordered on the menu. His food has been lauded as the pinnacle of Asian cuisine.The 175-seat restaurant serves lunch and dinner seven days a week, has a full bar with signature cocktails, and offers outdoor seating. Geoffrey and Daniel each order the Caramelized Wild Gulf Shrimp and the Grilled Salt & Pepper Berkshire Pork Chop. If there is a golf lover in the family this makes a sweet Valentines Day gift and while they are all about the golf you and the kids can explore all the travel options on site.
The restaurant sells so many orders of the dish that he estimates they spend roughly $380,000 yearly on beef for the dish alone.
Executive Pastry Chef Chucky Dugo oversees the dessert menu and Mark Ellenbogen is Wine Director. Even at lunch the place was packed out, and the hard surfaces result in a quite noisy environment. Trying to pick a favourite from the main course is like picking a favourite child, if I had to do it I would choose the Shaking Beef.
He is proud to add that other staff feel like family, no doubt contributing to the warm hospitality that is a signature of the restaurant.

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