My Food Companion (FC) moved back to New York earlier this year. On his recent visit to San Francisco, I had to suggest a new place to dine. It had to be good. It had to be trendy. It had to be the “it” place. I had something in mind. State Bird Provisions was on my hit list. In passing, three friends had mentioned the restaurant in the past few months. All I needed now was a reservation. One of my friends told me she knew one of the investors of the restaurant. After a few texts back and forth, I got my Thursday night reservation.
We arrived early to State Bird Provisions in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco. If you don’t know where that is, it’s a couple of blocks away from the Fillmore Theater. It is a small restaurant. There was barely an area to wait, just a narrow path which was not conducive to the food cart that had to be rolled by. More on that later. There was a bartender who was pouring wine, so we got a couple of glasses. I was quite surprised that the pours were light. My understanding is that from a bottle, you can get four to five pours. If I were to estimate how many pours the bartender would have gotten from her pours, I would say seven. A quick tip is to buy the bottle.
We got seated at about the time of our reservation. The waitress came by to explain the concept of the restaurant in that there will be a variety of small plates coming out “dim sum style” that you can choose from. Some of them were brought out in the food carts I mentioned earlier. In addition, you could get other items off the menu that are cooked to order. One of the best things about dim sum is that you could eat immediately. Altogether we had nine items, six that passed us by, two that we ordered, and one we received on the house because the waitress forgot to put our pancake order in.
I won’t go through each of the dishes we had. I will just name the three I would absolutely have again on a return visit.
The garlic bread with burrata was a savory delight. My FC devoured most of it.
The sweet corn & garlic chive “shortstack” with mt. tam were the pancakes that took awhile. It was worth the wait and I’m tempted to recreate this one.
The beef cheek & oxtail curry, bok choy, french crepes were all mine because my FC doesn’t eat meat. This was a delicious “melt in your mouth” stew that I took a doggie bag for because I wanted to make sure I could have some dessert.
Before dessert our waitress brought us complimentary ‘world peace’ peanut muscovado milk. I would never have ordered it, but now that I had a shot of this, I would have it again.
The stand out dessert was the one that my FC ordered. It was the chocolate mint ice cream sandwich with blackberries. Delicious!
I found the food at State Bird Provisions to be unique and inventive. I think the dim sum concept also works because I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a dish brought to another table and want it because it looks so good. Congratulations to State Bird Provisions! Earlier this month, Bon Appetit Magazine named them Restaurant of the Year! Reservations may be even harder to come by.