Ohh. Em. Gee.
I just had the most thrilling and exciting dinner experience of my life.
Because let’s be real.
There aren’t very many restaurants with an OMG-WOW factor, unless they’re super fancy, sometimes pretentious, dreadfully long, and really expensive.
(I may or may not have been referring to some Michelin Star restaurants out there)
However, State Bird Provisions is a worthy outlier- and unlike any restaurant I’ve ever been to.
They have a cool imaginative concept that is very well executed, making them the talk of the town AND one of the hardest restaurants to secure a reservation.
So what’s the concept?
Glad you asked.
YOU get to pick & choose from an array of exotic and innovative small plates that come out on dim sum- style carts & trays.
Pretty much, they’re the prime example of what makes San Francisco’s dining scene so exciting right now.
But wait. While half the menu is served dim sum style, the other half consists of larger dishes where you order a la carte. Included in this are things like their famous pancakes, the commendables (bigger entrees), and desserts.
So without boring you with every detail of every dish…
Here are my TOP 5 fav dishes of the night + dessert + other notable mentions. (BTW- I have a ton of pics in this post)
Their pork belly (tapas $12) is to-die-for. It’s my most absolutely, positively FAV thing here. The tender pork pieces are fat, juicy, crispy and slightly spicy. The vinaigrette is a fish sauce dressing topped with jalapenos and cilantro. Everything is so tasty and so perfectly well balanced with every ingredient in the dish.
(David Chang would approve. East coast has Momofuku, West Coast has State Bird Provisions)
You can’t come here and NOT order the State Bird with Provisions ($9 half order/ $18 full): The inside is moist, with a crispy and crunchy outer layer, which sits on top of a lemony, buttery, oniony confit. The quail is then topped off with shaved Parmesan cheese.
The red trout ($11 half/ $22 full) is one of the best pieces of fish I’ve ever had. The crispy skin is lightly sauced with sweet mandarins and nutty hazelnuts. The entire dish was so perfectly balanced I was at a loss for words.
This is the hamachi tartare constructable ($12 half/ $24 full). You can taste the freshness of the hamachi with every bite (most places use lower quality fish for tartares). Oh, and the seaweed chips are absolutely ridic. Every element of this dish is well thought out & you can see the hard work that’s put into every morsel.
The Duck Liver Mousse ($6) is equally impressive and has been a staple dish ever since they opened. The mousse is smooth, light and flavorful, but what really impressed me was how well it complimented the sweet almond biscuit. Who woulda thought? This is also a MUST try.
The most intriguing dessert of the night is this rose-geranium ice cream sandwich ($4 half/ $8 full). It’s made with pistachio and topped with a chocolate cardamom ganache. I especially enjoyed the unique texture of the “cookie” part of the sandwich. Honestly, it was the perfect ending to the meal.
And then THIS happened.
It’s a thai tea granita, coconut tapioca, with poached asian pear ($4 half/ $8 full). If you’re absolutely stuffed by the end of your meal, then this is your go-to. It’s light, delicious, and we were told it’s a staff favorite!
Other notable mentions:
(and yes, my BF and I did eat everything you see here. I know, we have problems)
To sum it all up:
I really enjoyed the ambiance of the open air kitchen, where you can watch all the magic happen! The cuisine here can be best classified as fusion. The flavors offer a melting pot of different cultures that demonstrate the chef’s knowledge & passion for local and international flavors.
The staff are super friendly and will go out of their way to explain what each dish is.You can place an order with pretty much anyone there (no matter what their role is in the kitchen).
Lastly, let’s talk about reservations.
Because they’re like… really.really.really hard to get.
Tables are released every night (12 am), 60 days in advance.
I can’t wait 60 days.
So. The next best thing is to wait in line since they leave a certain number of tables open every night.
They open at 5:30 pm. If you get there 45min- 1hour before they open, you should be okay.
Tip: My BF and I chose a day where there was a huge Giants game playing. I think it worked in our benefit.
Oh yeah, make sure you’re standing in line before the Hat Store. If you are, then you should be golden! If not, try another day.