San Francisco: State Bird Provisions (Revisited)

For T's 27th birthday, she dragged four of us, including a friend all the way from SoCal, to Tomales Bay for oysters.  While the girls at the table next to ours were daintily sipping champagne and nibbling on strawberries, we were unashamedly chowing down on coxinhas (which we'd picked up from Cafe di Casa on the way north), slurping up oysters off the shell, and slamming raw clams onto the table to get to the meaty goodness inside.  Keeping it classy, yo.

The original plan after Tomales Bay was to check out the Point Reyes Lighthouse, but once we realized how long it would take us to get there, we switched things up and got ice cream in Fairfax instead.  (It wasn't that great.  Too icy for my tastes.)

Then, it was off to State Bird Provisions.  T wasn't able to get a reservation (you need to try, like, three months in advance), so we just showed up around 4:40 pm, almost an hour before the restaurant opened, and hoped for the best.  There was already a line when we arrived.  T and I jumped off the car to secure our place in line while CL and the rest of them went to find parking.

It was kind of chilly, so it was quite a welcome surprise when someone from SBP came and handed out complimentary shot glasses of hot chocolate.  Super thick and rich hot chocolate.  Sigh.

When we finally made it inside, we were told that the restaurant was already full and to expect a phone call around 7:45 pm.  Not too bad.  The last time did State Bird, we didn't get in until 10:30.

We got the call that our table was ready while we were sitting around and playing Charades! on T's cell phone in Kintetsu Mall.  We hoofed it back to SBP, got seated, and immediately started ordering when the food carts started coming around.

If you haven't been to SBP before, the restaurant is dim sum style.  Food comes around in small dishes, but you can also order a couple bigger dishes from off a menu.

As if we didn't have enough oysters that day, we got the raw oyster with spicy kohlrabi kraut and sesame ($3 each):

There's definitely a spicy kick.  If you're not careful, it might go down the wrong way.  Trust me on that.

The smoked trout-avocado "chip and dip" ($9) was one of my favorites:

The chips were basically thick potato chips, which weren't all that great, but the smoked trout and avocado dip?  Yum.

You can't really see the salmon tartare from this angle, but it's there:

Good, but not nearly as memorable as the smoked trout.

For KC, who is pregnant and apparently under a very strict diet (pregnant women have it tough!), we made sure to get some non-seafood options.  Such as this quinoa and chickpea "tabouleh" ($7)

We also ordered the duck liver mousse with almond biscuits ($6):

Then we found out she couldn't eat liver either.  Wow.  One more reason why pregnancy is not in the cards for me.

CL loooooved the duck liver mousse.  So did I, actually.  The savoriness of the mousse complimented the sweet biscuit so well that it was heavenly.  We actually ordered another one because we enjoyed it that much.

The hamachi-avocado and seaweed cracker ($9) was certainly artistic in execution, but it was a bit difficult to eat, especially if you want to make sure each bite has a bit of everything:

The chawanmushi or steamed egg ($5) was small, but it shouldn't be overlooked:

So that KC could have more options, we got the pork riblets glazed in their own juices ($12):

And the beef tongue with potato ($6):

Though I think I was the one who ended up eating most of it.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for beef tongue.

Our server kept pushing us to try the spicy dungeness crab kimchi yuba with smoked egg, so we finally caved and asked for the half portion ($13):

While good, it wasn't quite...kimchi-y.  Not our favorite of the night.

We were all pretty much stuffed by then, but we couldn't help ordering the duck ham-maitake, pecan pancake with kumquat mustard ($15) off the menu:

I don't remember what it tasted like.  Probably because I was too enthralled with the roasted bone marrow with mushrooms and pink peppercorn ($14):

Bone marrow.  On bread.  Sprinkled with sea salt.  Oh my gawd.

We were ready to throw in the towel, but then someone brought over guinea hen dumplings with aromatic broth ($3 each) and we figured, what the heck, why not?:

The dumpling itself wasn't too memorable, but the broth was fantastic.

To help wash down everything, we all ordered drinks.  CL was the only one who got alcohol.  The rest of us all ordered sodas, either the hibiscus ginger lime or the muddled shiso-yuzu ($3 each):

I was actually the only one who got the shiso-yuzu soda (the one on the right) and in my humble opinion, it was better than the hibiscus one. 

You can't have a birthday dinner without dessert, right?  We ordered one "world peace" peanut muscovado milk ($2 a shot):

Think creamy peanut butter milk.

And the chocolate "ice cream" sandwich with smoked meringue, spicy cocoa nib, and apricot ($8)

The sandwich part had the sticky consistency of a macaron and the apricot added a nice tang.  I was scraping the smoked meringue off the board at the end.  So good.

The biggest shock came at the end of the meal when our server came by with the bill, asking for "Miss T".  Our jaws all dropped as he handed the bill and her CREDIT CARD to her.  When did she...?

After two seconds of stunned silence, the entire table erupted in rage while T signed the bill, smug as all hell.  We finally figured out that she'd handed over her card at the hostess counter before we'd even been seated.

That sneaky rat.

Ugh.  T, you're still on my shit list for that stunt.  I might be willing to forgive you in, say, 15 years or so.  I hope you enjoyed your birthday, m'dear.  We're gonna get you good next year.

State Bird Provisions
1529 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 795-1272


  1. What is this?? Food for a mouse? Never take me here.


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