A hot new San Francisco restaurant that defies categorization
You guys know about State Bird Provisions right? That San Francisco restaurant with the odd name and all the awards? (Best new restaurant by James Beard Foundation and in Zagat’s top ten best restaurants in the world.) This place may have generated more buzz than any other restaurant in San Francisco’s history, and it’s almost impossible to get into.
But then, in December of 2014 when I still living in Qatar, the chef owners of State Bird opened The Progress next door. And this summer, back in my most wonderful home state, I learned that one actually has a chance of getting a res at The Progress.
Their booking system only takes reservations as far out as a month. So I made a plan. Get online on August 4th and book for September 4th (my birthday.)
Snagged it! Mission accomplished.
Arriving at precisely 8:15 my friends and I were amused by the unmarked building. We only knew it was the right place because of the address. When I announced myself to the hostess she said, “Welcome back to the United States.”
Major first impression points!
The service from everyone was perfect. Relaxed, yet attentive; friendly instead of formal, and yet still highly professional. I sensed that the servers and bar tender were committed to the restaurant. They were digging it. And that made a difference.
The menu changes nightly and is composed of 17 choices from which guests collectively choose 6. The dishes are a wild and yet precise blend of cuisines. To call the cooking innovative is an understatement.
We loved the amuse bouches that began the meal, on the extra large ceramic platter. We agreed that our favorite dish was the black butter balsamic roasted figs with wagon wheel fondue and basil. In my experience in Italy, (the main place I’ve eaten figs) they are used fresh (often with Gorgonzola) and honestly, I’m neutral about their flavor. But this dish at The Progess– roasting them made all the difference, and their sweetness balanced with the salty cheese quite exquisitely.
They handled my friend’s gluten free/dairy free dietary restrictions with impressive aplomb and grace. There were two of us with birthdays on that exact day and they brought us two scoops, with candles, of their homemade raspberry sorbet, which contained no sugar and was divine.
Now, who wants to be on a mission with me to get into State Bird Provisions while I’m home this year?