Last night I had the privilege of dining out at one of San Francisco’s finest restaurants, State Bird Provisions. It was definitely one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had! But in order to thoroughly enjoy the experience, I think it’s important to prepare yourself for it. It is ideal to have a reservation (which must be booked months in advanced) but they do set aside 30% of their dining area for walk-ins. I went to the restaurant to line up a few minutes before they opened at 5:30 and there was already a line of about 40 people ahead of me. Upon reaching the hostess, she told me to come back at 9:30 for a party of 4. Although it was 4 hours later, I was happy to even be able to snag some seats because I was aware of the restaurant’s popularity.
Another smart idea is to go with more people, but not too many since it’s a small restaurant. 4 is the perfect number! They serve small plates, dim sum style and it’s more fun to order many plates to share. I also think it’s good to familiarize yourself with what they’re serving that night by looking on their website so that you can pace yourself with the dishes you choose. With dim sum style service, it’s definitely very easy to say yes to everything that comes your way and before you know it, you’re too full to enjoy other dishes!
We started off our meal with this salmon tartare with pickled turnips. I would say that out of all the dishes that we ordered, this one was not as amazing as the other ones. The flavors were subtle but the salmon was deliciously creamy. The best part was the crispy quinoa and sesame seeds on top which added a wonderful crunchy texture. (I love texture!)
Duck liver mousse with almond biscuits. The duck liver was really strong and I don’t know if I’m accurate but I believe I tasted alcohol in there? The almond biscuits were delicious! I could pop those tiny yummies in my mouth any day!
Charred octopus in a tomato chickpea salsa. The octopus was cooked perfectly!
Pork belly plum salad. Plum and pork belly. Who knew it could be such a delicious combination? Plums are so delicious right now! The pork belly was crispy yet creamy because of the fat.
Other items we got from the provisions (dim sum) section:
Garlic bread with burrata – creamy, light burrata atop warm and crispy bread.
Grilled rabbit, smoked potato and mushroom ragout – tender rabbit and extremely flavorful. The mushrooms were bursting with flavor from herbs with a slight tang.
From the pancake section:
Pickled anchovy-sesame pancake with crème fraîche & basil. One of my favorites from the meal. The anchovy wasn’t too overpowering, the crème fraîche balanced everything out and the pancake was warm and fluffy.
From the commandables section:
Pork spare ribs glazed in their own juices atop a bed of kale. The ribs were perfectly cooked, tender and extremely flavorful. The best part was the kale it was on which was so flavorful!
We also ordered the CA state bird with provisions (first picture). Quails have such tiny bones! It had a crispy outside with some pickled onions and some sort of shaved cheese. I enjoyed it very much.
And for the best part…dessert!
I wanted everything on the dessert menu but ordered two desserts to share including this mint ice cream sandwich, chocolate-plum coulis, pistachios. We also ordered the birdseed bittersweet chocolate crunch, caramel cloud cream, blueberries. A bunch of different textures and flavors that balanced each other out perfectly.
My first time at State Bird Provisions was amazing! Every component of each dish was executed beautifully and worked well with another. There was an abundance of creativity and attention to detail in every dish. The cherry on top of a delicious meal was the service. Chefs would sometimes bring you the dish themselves and interact with the customers ensuring that they were enjoying their meals. Every single person who worked there embodied the same kindness and evident passion for their craft. It was such an inspiring place with a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for small gatherings. I may have just found one of my new favorite restaurants in the city! I will surely come back, especially because their menu changes seasonally. But next time I will be booking reservations way in advance!
State Bird Provisions is located in the Western Addition.
Address: 1529 Fillmore Street (between Geary and Post)
Phone #: 415.795.1272
Note: They will be closed starting August 10th for 3-4 weeks (or more?) to expand next door.
***My apologies for the picture quality. I forgot my DSLR at home so all photos were taken under poor lighting with my iPhone 4S and edited with vscocam. Next time I will bring my DSLR!