This is an incredibly beautiful book. It is definitely a cookbook, but while there are many cookbooks that people describe as coffee table books, The Slanted Door takes this to a whole new level. This book was made with the highest production values I've seen in a cookbook: glossy, thick paper, gorgeous multi-textured cover (with no dust jacket), and tons of beautiful photographs of food and spaces. The book is written as a sort of restaurant memoir, with chapters organized chronologically, relating to the opening of Charlie Phan's three restaurants. There are a lot of (delicious-sounding and -looking) recipes, and they are all accompanied by well-written text. There are also numerous essays by Phan and people he works with that cover topics that include pure memoir, practical advice (for instance, "Bar Basics"), restaurant design, and wine. Every recipe is accompanied by a full-page, full-color photograph. In addition, there are many beautiful photographs of San Francisco and the interiors of Phan's restaurants. There are a few vegetarian dishes in here, and some yummy-sounding original cocktails, but for the most part, like Vietnamese cuisine, this cookbook focuses on chicken and shrimp. This recipes, I'm sure, are amazing, but this book is also definitely made for gift-giving and coffee table display. I mean that in the best possible way! I swear it's not an insult. I just mean that this is such a beautiful book, that it would be a shame to relegate it to your cookbook shelf. It is not only made to be cooked from and consulted, but to be read, browsed, and drooled over.
(I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.)