San Francisco: State Bird Provisions

As I mentioned in my previous post, T really wanted to try State Bird Provisions, but couldn't get reservations.  So we decided to try our luck by walking in the door 30 min after the restaurant opened.

Go ahead and laugh.  We deserve your scorn.

The first thing we saw was the line out the door.  Sent as the ambassador while the others looked for a parking spot, I cautiously got in line.  The first thing I saw when I got inside was this beautiful open kitchen.  And then I noticed how small and how packed the place was...and my heart dropped.  

When I reached the hostess and told her we were a party of 4, she zipped through her little tablet and cheerfully told me that the next available time slot was 10:30.  

10 freakin' 30 at night.

Of course I took it.  There was still a long line behind me.  Who knew how many of those people would kill for my 10:30 spot.

So that's how we ended up getting first dinner at Fat Angel and then wandering around Japantown before finally, finally dining at State Bird Provisions (or as CL calls it, "the bird sanctuary that's the opposite of one"):


State Bird Provisions reminded me a lot of my favorite haunts in Chicago.  Hipster-y.  (If that's not a word, it should be.)  I apologize for the blurry photo.  I haven't quite mastered surreptitious photo taking yet:


Our server was the friendliest, warmest person ever.  I loved her.  She patiently explained to us how State Bird Provisions works kind of dim sum style.  There's a set menu that you can order off of and then people walk around with trays and carts with the daily specials.

We browsed through the menu first and decided on the smoked sturgeon, horseradish schmear, and "everything" pancake. When it arrived, it was nothing like what we expected:


Definitely not the pancake we envisioned.  But infinitely better.  I still don't know what magic it was, but it was delicious magic.  The smoked sturgeon was smooth and smokey.  The pancake had crisp crust and a savoriness that had us drooling for more.

Our first dim sum encounter at State Bird came in the form of the smoked trout potato-clam porridge:


So.  Damn.  Good.  When I heard that it was served cold, I was kind of skeptical.  But I'm a total believer now.  Woot!

Next was the pork belly citrus salad:


The pork was fried and crisp.  It's fattiness was perfectly complimented by the citrus.  Delicious, but definitely on the rich side.

Our last menu order was the CA state bird with provisions:


How could we dine at State Bird and not order the state bird?  The fried quail leg came with shaved parmigiano-reggiano and stewed onions.  Perfecto.

T's eyes light up when she sees oysters, so we had to say yes when presented with them:


The oyster came topped with spicy kohlrabi kraut and sesame.  Spicy and refreshing, yum.

MS couldn't get the 1/2 dozen cast iron quail eggs with sunchoke and ravigote out of her head.  So more than halfway through the meal, we referred back to the menu and ordered it:


Wow.  Just wow.  Cut out an individual quail egg, make sure to gather a little bit of everything, and then pop the entire spoonful into your mouth.  EXPLOSION OF JOY.

Totally stuffed, we were ready to ask for the bill when this passed by our table:


Garlic bread with burrata.  I tried to resist.  Okay, not really.  More like I opened my arms and said, "Come to mama!"  The bread was fried and puffy.  The burrata was smooth and lovely.  I don't regret it one bit.

State Bird Provisions may not be the cheapest meal (dim sum options range from $3 to $16, set menu from $7 to $22, and let's be honest here, the portions are on the tiny side), but it's so damn good that I can't even complain.

Definitely worth a second dinner at 10:30 pm.


State Bird Provisions
1529 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 795-1272
http://statebirdsf.com/

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