State Bird Provisions – Japantown in San Francisco

SBPWell, we finally made it to the asian inspired State Bird Provisions after waiting in line the week before and NOT getting in (so we went to SPQR instead). And it was SO WORTH IT.

The way they do it there is kind of dim sum style. (Although, it’s not what you think because I hate dim sum.) The servers come around with a cart or tray of small plates that you can choose from. They also have  a menu that you can order things off of like the famous “state bird with provisions.”

The plate are small for getting a taste on a table of four or a few bites on a two top and just to give you an idea, we had 15 plates between two of which included 2 desserts.

Here’s what we had:

  1. Duck liver mousse with almond biscuits at State Bird Provisions SFDuck liver mousse with almond biscuits (pictured above). I wish I had a basket of these little biscuits and a vat of this mousse. Damn were these good. MUST ORDER.
  2. Oyster on half shell with pickled kohlrabi and sesame seeds. A unique and interesting spin on raw oysters. The flavors were simple and clean with a little crunch coming from the kohlrabi.
  3. Steak tartare with porcini mushroom ranch dressing. This was outstanding. The porcini mushroom flavored ranch dressing gave it a nice creamy earthy flavor.
  4. Nasturtium flower blossom w/ creme fraiche and balsamic dipping sauce. I never even heard of this flower, but whoever thought that dipping flower blossoms would be a good idea was a genius! They were great!
  5. Dashi pickled kale with aioli. This was one of the dishes that I ordered just because I don’t get enough kale in my diet. It was fine, but not great and you could skip this one and not miss out on anything.
  6. Chilled squash at State Bird Provisions SFChilled squash with parsley almond pesto and fennel pollen. This was  scrumdidili-umptious! Very simple and yet hearty. The almond pesto is what made the squash pop. Loved it! (pictured left)
  7. Pickled anchovy with sesame pancake and creme fraiche. The pickled anchovies laid on top of the tiny asian pancakes. Tasty if you love anchovies.
  8. Garlic bread with burrata. Surprisingly, as much as this was going like hotcakes as they passed around the tray, this was not very good. It was a filler and frankly there are so many other good things that are available, I wouldn’t waste your belly space. I also love cheese but I think burrata is overrated.
  9. California state bird with provisions. The quail is the California state bird and we ordered a half of one. The provisions vary but on this night it had caramelized onions which made it mouth watering and surprisingly it was not gamy as some quails can be.
  10. Sunny side up quail eggs with fried shallots and cauliflower.Quail eggs This is a MUST ORDER and was my favorite dish overall. Tiny little quail eggs in a hot skillet with shallots and tiny pieces of roasted cauliflower. (pictured left)
  11. Red trout with oranges, hazelnut, butter. This was great. The citrus and sweetness from the oranges gave the dish a nice balance. The hazelnuts added just the right amount of nuttiness and texture. Well executed.
  12. Tomba tuna at State Bird Provisions SFTombo tuna, avocado and radish. Do you like tuna tartare? Then you’ll like this dish. The creamy avocado dollops make the tuna melt in your mouth. Plus you can eat the seaweed plate it’s served on. Yum! (pictured left)
  13. Corn pancakes with Mt. Tam cheese. The whole corn kernels in the pancakes had a sweet flavor that balanced well with the salty Mt. Tam cheese.
  14. State Bird Provisions SFPeanut muscovado milk shots. Let me just say that if you like Reese’s Peanut butter cups, then you’ll love this shot. I’m not a big milk fan in general, but this was worth the exception. (pictured left)
  15. Caramelized coconut chocolate cake, plum yogurt, roasted strawberries. This was delicious. I love coconut cake because it’s light and mildly sweet. Frankly, the cake was good by itself. (pictured left)

State Bird Provisions
1529 Fillmore (between Geary & O’Farrell)

They only have 56 total seats and that includes 4 standing only spots.  They are, however, expanding into the space next door. But it’s unclear how that will affect reservations or walk-ins.

Reservations: They take reservations by phone, 2 months early. They also have walk-ins but it’s a crap shoot and you have to be wiling to wait in line for at least an hour or more. If you don’t make the first seating at 5:30, the seats start to empty out around 7pm.  More on reservations on their website.

Dresscode: casual

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