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Restaurants & Bars 5

Review: State Bird Provisions [San Francisco]

ChewChew | Mar 3, 201209:50 PM

Not really sure this place lived up to some of the hype it’s getting. I found most of the offerings bland, and one-note. Here’s what we had.

Oysters on the halfshell: These were fresh and served at the right temperature but on the small side. Not bad and a nice way to start.

Fluke tartar with quinoa with bonito rosemary: The most successful dish of the night for me. Everything was in balance. Crunchy, flavorful and harmonious.

Potato chips with steelhead caviar: Also yummy.

Avocado, guancale and pomelo: Eh. This was served cold which I suppose makes sense given the avocado but the guancale was sliced paper thin and lost its wonderfully chewy, fatty texture.
And served cold it left an unpleasant fatty sheen on my tongue. I think prosciutto would have worked better here.

Duck neck dumplings in Sauerjus: Just ok. The duck was underseasoned and was almost indistinguishable from the pastry texture-wise. Tasted clumpy and bland. The sauerjus didn’t really wake things up.

Kimchi pork belly with tofu and clams: Again, unsuccessful. The kimchi broth wasn’t spicy enough, the clams seemed thrown on like an afterthought. The tofu was bland and didn’t pick up any of the kimchi sauce. The pork belly was right on but the dish didn’t come together at all.

Sourdough, Sauerkraut, Pecorino and Riccota pancakes: Missed the mark for me. These were silver-dollar size and golden brown but had a weird sour, creamy profile. Needed something to brighten them up.

CA state bird with provisions: Not bad. Fried quail over braised onions with a yuzu-like sauce. My issue was that my piece of quail was sitting right on top of the sauce so the bottom of my quail became mushy. Better to serve this sauce on the side so it doesn’t get the crispy bird soggy. This dish really summed up the experience, a bunch of dishes with promise that just miss.

Beef cheek salad with radishes and bone marrow: Ok. The cheeks were perfectly cooked, the radishes were very fresh but the marrow was served as a sauce with an unappealing milky appearance and thin texture. Didn’t add a thing to the dish.

Desserts were pretty good with a fresh-baked poppyseed profiterole (that really wasn’t a profiterole), more like a light muffin paired with curd and berries and a chocolate sesame crunch with a cocoa and clementine jam.

The atmosphere was not so good. It’s a small space and got extremely loud when full. There were also a pair of toddlers running around which added to the noise. We had high hopes but our experience was no better than average and we will not be in any hurry to return. To us many of the dishes felt like bunch of good ingredients looking for a common theme. The dim-sum concept is cool and we really wanted to like this place but it seemed like the chef was relying on his list of ingredients and the novelty of non-Asian dim sum to drown out what were, for the most part, uninspired combinations.

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