Redemption Song (Update on The Slanted Door -- San Francisco, CA)
***FURTHER UPDATE CAN BE FOUND HERE***
If I be a restaurant whore, then Slanted Door is my ex-boyfriend that I know is bad for me, but I keep going back to sleep with him anyway because I can't let go, and, let's face it, the sex is good.
If you read my original review, you know the deeply intertwined relationship that Jon and I have with SD. We've been regulars since Valencia Street, got all the perks that came with that and stayed true all the way to this current incarnation in the Ferry Building. For us, it wasn't just about the food, but also the people who were our friends.
Lately, we've been finding it difficult to get in because they are so freakin' huge and popular. Now, back in the day, when we expressed concern over not being able to get in once they expanded, we were told time and time again "Oh, you guys will always get in." About a month ago, when we were turned away by a new host, Jon said to me, "If I had a nickel for every time someone said (see above)." It is important to note that we can still call for a reservation pretty much anytime and they'll accomodate, but then I have to play a card I don't like to play -- the "Can I speak to so-and-so?" card. God, I'm a slut. I hate doing that, but I will if we have family in town or it's a special occasion. I don't feel too bad, as I'm pretty sure they were able to build their bathrooms based on the money we've thrown down there alone.
Here's the problem, they are freakin' huge. The staff has expanded enormously and not everyone was kickin' it with us back on V Street. And we can't really expect them to accomodate us jerkwads who show up unannounced. Except that they told us we could, so there's the issue.
Lately, we've been hitting Out the Door, which I must admit is pretty sweet. It has a lot of things that I love such as spring and/or imperial rolls and banh mi. And Mutsumi's super desserts are there, too. I've been pretty pleased with the vittles we've tried so far and it was better than the heartbreak of going into the main restaurant and being turned away. Or having my heart bleed profusely every fucking time I walk by the old Valencia Street location (that is *supposedly* still going to re-open), only to see it housing a Goddamn clothing store. That's right, a mother fucking clothing store.
As we approached Out the Door recently, we saw "F" (name protected). Now F has been true to us through and through. He gets the loyalty thing. He'd walk across China to get us a table. And when we saw him at OTD, he promptly marched us into the main restaurant and told the hostess she needed to seat us. Mind you, we didn't ask. He just took charge. And as it was 1:30 on a Saturday (Farmer's Market hell), we were glad when bar spots opened up and we didn't have to consume precious table space. The hostess was visibly relieved as well. Can't blame her. She's got a line out the door (yeah, stupid pun, I know). Besides, we got to hang with our favorite bartenders so it was beginning to feel like the early days of our love affair with SD. As he headed back to OTD, F said "Anytime you need anything, you tell me. I mean it!" And we ate our clams and soup and such and schmoozed with our friends and then sat in the afterglow.
It is important to note that the servers are feeling the change acutely as well. One came over, hugged us and said "It's not like the old days. I don't have any time to stop and talk!"
I sent F a thank you later that week. And he responded, again, with "Call me if you need anything!!! I mean it!" He's like my SD pimp.
Dear readers, I'm torn. The highs are so high but the lows are so low. And I keep going back for more, trying to replicate the highs and redeem the lows. It's a vicious cycle, my friends.
Now here's something for you to hang on to until my next update, where I'll undoubtedly be at another crossroads in my highly complex love affair with SD: We got wind of some new happenin's from Phan and Co. I can't tell you what just yet, but it's not what you think. And I'm sure it's going to be a welcome addition to the world of the rich and lazy. As soon as I can share, I will. Promise. A girl's gotta leave you wanting more, though...
"To eat is a necessity, to eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld