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Meal at The Progress - San Francisco

Dave MP | Jan 28, 201510:37 PM

Had a nice meal at The Progress last night. We had an early reservation, and I was impressed by the service (casual but very professional), the pacing of the meal (not too fast, not too slow), and the space, which I thought looked great.

Complimentary Appetizers

Some radishes with a hummus like dip (fine), some cheesy crackers with apple/fish salad (good), some fried mussels (great!), and some Chinese sausage (fine). These were served to us just before we ordered.

Smoked duck with marinated yellowfoot mushrooms & dried plum

I thought this dish was excellent, especially the tender pieces of duck.

Porcini & Mt. Tam dumpling with nettle salsa verde

This was also awesome. The dumplings looked like gyoza, but were filled with cheese and mushrooms. The nettle salsa verde was also really great, with a nice balance of sour and salty flavors.

Pecorino "roti" with black truffle buttermilk

This dish was really nice. Roti was a bit thick and less crispy than Malaysian versions I've tried, but had great flavor. The texture was soft and pillowy. The sauce reminded me of the sauce served with the smoked potatoes at Bar Tartine. This was the best dish of the night for me, though the smoked duck was a close second.

Pineapple ginger tart, guava cream, and pink peppercorn

This was okay. I liked the crust quite a bit, but the pineapple and ginger filling was average, the guava cream wasn't guava-ey enough for me, and I couldn't really detect peppercorn flavor. We didn't choose this as one of our six dishes, so we paid an extra $10 to get one of these. I'm sorry the pictures are out of order

Treasure chest of fermented sausage, trout quenelles and...

...pumpkin rice dumpling in a creamy pork broth. This dish, despite how good it sounded, did not do it for me. The pumpkin rice dumplings were the best part and I would have liked more of these...sort of a cross between mochi and gnocchi. The trout quenelles were like a taste-less pink gefilte fish, and the sausage was a SE asian style sour sausage which had too overpowering a taste when combined with the other savory ingredients. The broth they poured over this was a very fatty pork broth, so when we ate this dish, the mouthfeel was really fatty. I guess some people like this, but I personally did not.

Aromatic spiced squab with salted chili paste

This was served with lettuce for wrapping, which was a nice idea. The meat was heavily seasoned with Asian spices, so the tastes reminded me of Chinese BBQ that you'd find on the streets of Beijing (or at a restaurant like House of Pancakes on Taraval). I really liked the quail at SBP, so I was hoping to like this just as much...but I didn't.

Lamb merguez with yellow eye beans, octopus and crispy squid

I really liked this dish, except for the pieces of lamb merguez which for me didn't match the other flavors. But when I had bites of the fried squid, beans, and the fresh herbs (mint and cilantro), I thought it was great. Octopus was a bit chewy. Lamb merguez was fine I guess, but again, I would have preferred this dish without it. The sauce contained fish sauce, so it was sort of a Vietnamese flavor profile.

The menu

Here's the menu from January 27th. All in all, I really liked the items from the first two sections of the menu, and didn't like the lower level items as much. Not sure if this is a coincidence or suggests a pattern.

I didn't enjoy this meal as much as my one meal at State Bird Provisions. However, the first three dishes were all really good, and everything else about the experience was very nice.

The Progress,
House of Pancakes,
State Bird Provisions,
Venus Cafe,
Com Tam Thanh Restaurant
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