The Slanted Door

San Francisco’s Slanted Door has always attracted a mix of wine industry insiders, but not for the usual reasons we gravitate toward Asian restaurants (low corkage fees): It’s one of the very few Asian places that has a wine-and-drinks list as stellar as the food. So it’s thrilling to read an essay from Mark Ellenbogen, who built the Slanted Door’s wine list into one of the most exciting in the Bay Area during his 14-year tenure, describing how he came to an understanding of pairing wine with Vietnamese food, and to flip through the 40-page section on cocktails. The two sections are a guide to drinks that are tailored to reflect the food Charles Phan makes—bright and dynamic, with an accent on citrus, herbs and acid, and a strategic use of sweetness.

by Charles Phan (Ten Speed Press, 2014; $40)

Reviewed in W&S December 2014.