My wife and can't say we're regulars at The Slanted Door anymore, but back in the day when they were located at 16th and Valencia and we were living in the Lower Haight, we made sure that we popped in every month or so for excellent food, amazing chocolate cake and a well thought out selection of tea. That was back in the 1990s, and this is now 2006. It's been a long time since we first experienced the shaken beef, served by dedicated staff that recognized familiar faces and treated you like you were practically one of the family. Over a decade since our first taste of the food, the restaurant has moved twice and undergone changes that in some ways are great, but overall leave me wishing that they were still a little known restaurant in the Mission.
Since we have moved back to town, we've been there once for dinner and a couple of times for drinks, most recently this evening. Though the new space is sleek with an expanded lounge area - it lacks the warmth and personal touches that could make it great. Even the staff seemed to shlub along through the crowd in ill fitting, slightly faded Slanted Door black t-shirts.
The DJ and cocktail selection are nice, but don't really fit the vibe of the restaurant area. It tries to be hip and unique, but ends up being generic and a little cliche. Well prepared drinks are brought out at a painfully slow pace, making it difficult to enjoy yourself while trying to flag down a server and time your order to when you might finish your drink in order to avoid a lengthy in-between-drink gap. All of this, and you end up paying about ten dollars per cocktail when tax and tip are figured in.
If the service in the bar can't be fixed, then it would be better just to abandon it, rather than tainting the overall experience. Call me crazy, but when I miss the food, I'll head to Out The Door and have some takeout.