If you are one of the fortunate 45 lucky diners who have a reservation or you have more patience than I, to stand in line and hope you might achieve a table, you deserve an award winning feast for your fealty and devotion. State Bird Provisions won my allegiance last week.
We arrived at exactly 5.25 pm, moments before the doors officially opened for dining. Peeking in the kitchen windows, chef was prepping the grill and petite delicacies were visible on the bar. Baited breath, we wondered who were those people lined up half way down the block in the cold rain, will this restaurant live up to the hype? A KRON news reporter interviewed us as we waltzed in: “We waited 60 days for this dinner, we are thrilled to be here!” Sly glances at the plates piled with black seeded crostini…we skittishly sat down, excited by the impending feast.
There was definitely an enlivened rush as others followed behind into the food temple. Almost immediately, a server brought a short list of Commandables and placed a numbered list on the table, mysterious. Wine served and the magic show begins, dim sum carts roll between the tables intermixed by staff carrying trays filled with the provisions, each with a small price sign. Peering at the other diners plates, there is a sense of covetousness that you might have missed a delicious morsel. Did we have those vegetables? Look at that tray, we missed something!
The surroundings are a work place of unfinished cement walls, curious peg board wall art and dim lighting. Clearly the star here is the food, had they added white table linens and silver, the prices would triple. State Bird Provisions excels in extraordinary food. Brilliant bites, 9 or 10 courses of parceled provisions don’t overwhelm like a food and wine pairing dinner.
Our shared provisions included wildly eclectic servings of: tuna crudo & confit with chick peas and cumin, scooped with homemade potato chips; lobster lentil and fuyu salad; hamachi – avocado seaweed crostini; divine duck liver mousse with tender almond biscuits. And the Commandables: succulent slices of Kobe beef, clearly a cow who enjoyed many massages; state bird, i.e. fried quail, soaked in buttermilk and dredged in 2 kinds of flour, peppered in cayenne and pumpkin seeds, Parmesan cheese ribbons delicately melting on the crunchy crust; Peking duck, our final dish, we were prepared to order a take out quail, until we nibbled the duck confit, wrapping it in the delicate crepes napped in persimmon sauce and cloud ears. Oh, then we shared dessert! Did I mention the trout and the garlic buratta dumplings?
In asking management about private events: we do welcome buy-outs of the restaurant on days when we haven’t booked reservations yet (60 days in advance), or on Sundays. The restaurant can accommodate 48 people for a seated dinner or 55 for a standing reception. The cost for a buy-out ranges from $9000-$15000, depending on the day of the week and includes the space and all food. That price is exclusive of beverages which are charged based on consumption, SF tax and a 20% service fee. http://statebirdsf.com/
Divine Dining. Don’t take my word of it, State Bird Provisions lauded by:
Bon Appetit: Best New US Restaurant of 2012.
Zagat: Hottest New Restaurant in the World!
I’ve been online every day in pursuit of another reservation; if it warms up, you may find me queued on the sidewalk with a few eager diners!