Went to the new Tao Cafe on Friday. I was excited to go to this place, because I live practically next door, and have been watching the slow renovation process since the Flying Saucer closed down last year. Well, the room is pretty (pale green walls, fuschia silk banquette cushions, asian ceramics) but the service is a joke, the menu is really skimpy and the food bland and off the mark. One of the problems may have been that our order was taken by the owner/hostess, so we never seemed to get a real waiter assigned to our table. Whenever we needed something (plates cleared, bill brought) we had to flag someone down on the fly. My tea never arrived, and no one checked back in to see if we liked our food (we didn't ) nor did anyone comment on the fact that our plates were barely half-eaten. Green papaya salad looked beautiful but the papaya strands were hard and woody, with no flavor and none of that lovely slightly sour tang. Two kebabs of grilled chicken were dry and flavorless, served with a gummy patty of coconut rice and a single lettuce leaf topped with two greenish slices of out-of-season tomato. The lemongrass tofu was greasy and mildly spicy--a heap of tofu strips on a pile of shredded iceberg lettuce. No other vegetables. Three dishes came to $30--the tea they didn't bring was included in the bill (they did take it off when I got up and went to the kitchen to find a waiter). So it looks like Slanted Door has no competition for now.