Pacing is Key at State Bird Provisions

Many positive things have been said about State Bird Provisions, Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski’s avante-garde restaurant in the historic Fillmore jazz district. Serving most dishes dim sum style in carts or serving trays, the Canton concept is successfully adapted to Western plates. The very engaging Chef Brioza was ever present chatting with the diners as often as he can:

The 2-month old reconfigured chef’s stand-up counter has been transformed into a chef’s bar which not only allows more seating, but provides a great vantage point to see all of the dishes being prepared. Chef Glen took very good care of us this evening starting us off with summer green beans served with sauce gribiche (similar to egg salad), pickles and topped with various nuts and seeds:

The guinea hen dumplings served with broth was a nice Western-style homage to a Chinese dim sum version:

We never, ever turn down the fried garlic bread with burrata cheese:

The duck liver mousse served with mini almond ‘biscuits’ is another dish that we just can’t say no to:

We ordered the Asian-influenced ginger-scallion pancake topped with buttery fresh Mendocino sea urchin, sprouted soy beans, sesame seeds and dressed with a soy-lime sauce:

A cart pulled up offering oysters on the half-shell, seafood salsa served over avocado with tortilla chips, tuna crudo with quinoa, and heirloom tomatoes with smoked salmon:

From that cart, we chose the one dish we hadn’t had before, the smoked salmon served with sweet summer corn and marvel striped heirloom tomatoes. We also had the albacore-lardo butter served with pickles and crostinis (click on the back of the picture to bring this dish into focus):

A tray containing shaved squash and smoked eggplant, blackberry marinated beets with goat cheese and Calabrian chili oil flavored tofu was next:

The Calabrian chili oil made it very reminiscent to Kimchi flavored tofu. Chef Brioza explained it’s their version of Korean banchan. It was accompanied by an almond-basil pesto which completed the East-West fusion of this tofu dish:

The namesake plate of the restaurant is the Fried Quail (the state bird) which can be ordered from the “Commandables” part of the menu. It was served atop a lightly braised Vidalia onion confit and parmesan cheese shavings:

The state bird was also featured in that night’s special, a Maitake mushroom and lightly seared quail breast salad. Chef Brioza explained that this delicate quail breast is sourced from a different farm than that used for the fried version:

From the Commandables section, we ordered the very tender beef cheek and oxtail curry. The beef offal parts are slowly braised with a Malaysian influenced curry. The curry is then ‘reconstructed’ and served with bok choy and pieces of French crêpe which stood in as the Western counterpart for Roti Prata (typically served to dip into Malay curries):

A single plate order of their oven braised glazed pork ribs served atop sautéed spigarello (broccoli leaves). Spiced with Japanese togarashi pepper blend seasoning, the rib was fall-off-the-bone good:

We drank an old-world Garnacha from Spain to go with our meal:

We were too full for dessert, but the shots of World Peace from the dessert part of the menu was a very nice ending. Peanut milk was poured from a sake container over muscovado syrup:

Similar to dim sum restaurants, all plates are tabulated by cost. The 2 of us didn’t quite make it through the entire menu, but we did our best:

That evening, noted New York restaurateur, Drew Nieporent, (fresh from SF Chef’s interview of Michael Bauer) was dining there. Once Rubicon closed, he no longer has San Francisco ties but he’s kept close contact with the chef-owners who had cooked at Rubicon. Also present was Chef Steffan Terje of Perbacco — on our way out we expressed our appreciation to him about bringing Piemonte cuisine closer to home for us. He was very enthusiastic for his support for State Bird Provisions, declaring that this is his favorite place to eat when not working.

It’s hard to decide which dishes to eat at State Bird Provisions since there are so many options offered. The key is to pace and not be afraid to say “No” to some of the dishes. Chances are, they will come around again should you change your mind.

State Bird Provisions on Urbanspoon


One response to “Pacing is Key at State Bird Provisions

  1. Pingback: Ending the Year with State Bird Provisions | BarFlySF·

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