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My SF Bites: R&G Lounge and Slanted Door

September 19, 2011

We ate and ate and ate in San Francisco and only now am I getting to the dinners from the trip almost a month ago!  Thanks for being patient and reading all of them.  I promise to keep this particular one short and sweet.

The “short” was R&G Lounge in Chinatown.  There’s no question that the focus here was the salt and pepper dungeness crab.  I think there was at least one perched proudly in the middle of each table.  This came at the recommendation of Anthony Bourdain a la “No Reservation” and he did not lead us astray.  The crab broken down into large pieces, each coated thoroughly with a thin salty and peppery batter.  Even the smallest piece was filled with white tender crab meat.

Sadly, the rest of the meal was dismissible:  crab and corn soup, Chinese broccoli and a rather unfortunate stir-fried noodles with seafood.  In lieu of a fruit plate, we ended the meal with a subtly sweet peanut and sesame soup.  It’s pretty obvious that the smart choice is to stick with the signature dish at R&G Lounge and order two dungeness crabs while steering clear of the other main dishes from the menu.

The “sweet” of this post was our dinner the next night at the Slanted Door, housed in the Ferry Building.  The Slanted Door was at the top of the list for many locals I had surveyed and given my budding love affair with the Ferry Building, I was quite excited to be back there again for dinner.

The space was quite large, with huge windows facing the Bay Bridge and the water.  I guess coming from New York, any restaurant bigger than a studio is considered spacious.  Even though I was enjoying my view from our table, I was still focused on the food!

An order of wild California uni fulfilled my craving and yes, I do crave uni.  It was sweet and smooth, finishing with a hint of bitter.  The avocado and cucumbers lightened the rich uni, I think it might have even convinced DC and VW to like uni, at least for a few bites.

Because all the plates were designed for family style, we decided to split three seafood dishes and a vegetable.  The first was perfectly seared scallops with a pineapple and coconut sauce, beautiful over rice.

The next out was the caramelized gulf shrimp.  I saw this recipe via TastingTable a while ago and was excited to try it in person.  While we all enjoyed it, there were more exciting dishes that night that outshone it.

For example, this amazing plate of cellophane noodles with dungeness crab.  Plain as it might look, this was just full of flavor and the right balance of crab to noodles.  It would have been interesting too with a kick of heat but no matter, this was licked clean by the end.

A plate of fresh California summer squash with mushrooms to round out the meal.  Who knew something so simple could taste so beautiful!  It must be the California touch.

We were quite stuffed but had to end the night with a little bit of sweet.  Sadly our dessert, a large stick of lychee flavored cotton candy, was not very photogenic.  Regardless, it was fun, whimsical and hands-on dessert.

R&G Lounge | 631 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 | http://rnglounge.com/

The Slanted Door | 1 Ferry Building #3, San Francisco, CA 94111 | http://www.slanteddoor.com/

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