1525 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Why did we dine here? – The Progress is the long awaited follow on to immensely popular State Bird Provisions. Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski have a hard act to expand on, but all foodies are salivating at the thought of this new restaurant.
The Progress is located next door to State Bird and gives the diner a dinner party style meal served family style. You pick 6 (or more – you just pay more) items from a list of 15 or so.
Cutting edge creative and unusual ingredients will be featured on an evolving menu.
The decor is typical trendy modern SF. A loud restaurant with raw wood tables and hip music. The crowd looks like dot com’ers who know enough to wear button down T-shirts instead of sweats.
There are 3 tables in the bar that are available to walk-ins, if not previously reserved!
Insider Tip – Battle hard for a reservation or try to luck out by sitting at the bar.
Cuisine – New American
Location – San Francisco Western Addition District
Opened – Late 2014
Service – The Progress had a good server who got overloaded midway. Our pacing was slow in the middle, resulting in a 2:30 hour meal. This could be tightened up.
Verdict – The Progress had a high bar to meet and they did it. The cooking is spot on and the dishes are inventive. Flavor profiles are bold. Foodies, go make your reservations now. Very impressive.
Is this restaurant worth a 5 minute drive? Yes. 30 minute? Yes. 1 Hour? Yes.
The Progress Signature Dishes – Menu is still evolving. Early favorites: Pig Fries, Wild mushrooms with nori and kale, Treasure chest.
The Progress’s Menu changes slightly from day to day. We noticed slight variations on the ingredients from the day we dined to the next.
In May 2016, the menu was completely different as there was a new Chef de cuisine. Before it was 6 dishes for $65 a person. In May 2016 it became: 4 dishes – $58/person, you have to agree on the 4 for the entire table. Shucks! You can order more dishes and pay an upcharge. Portion size is reasonable, so after 4, you will probably be full. $2.55 Healthy SF fee per person.
Mojito ($9) shows their bar is the real deal. They know how to make a cocktail.
Amuse – 4 complimentary interesting small bites:
Chinese Lap Cheung Sausage – Not authentic, but fine. Sausagy, not fatty
Tempura Broccoli – Eggless lite tempura
Duck croquettes – Crispy chewy fun
Radish with yogurt – Seemed out of place compared to the other 3.
The Amuse in May 2016 included tofu, a small biscuit, radish, cured meat and more. Even more creative than before.
The May 2016 menu included:
boquerones of our local anchovies, lime-pickled cucumbers, basil & turmeric fry bread – Excellent dish, no fishiness, smooth flavors.
double duck broth dumplings, morels & turnips – Also fabulous. Robust broth with lots of flavor
grilled spanish octopus fava hummus, shaved fennel, toasted black rice & preserved lemon – Not chewy, perfectly cooked.
spring potatoes & porcinis in the wood oven local nori salsa verde, onion tempura, aged barley miso aioli – Another mixture of robust flavor and textures.
grilled llano seco pork crushed broccoli, tomatillo salsa verde & dried chili-cumin oil – Nicely cooked chunks of meat although the guac like broccoli was a bit odd.
lime sherbet floating island ($10) coconut anglaise, gold nugget mandarins, long pepper – Classic French dessert with a twist.
The Progress 2014’s Meal:
smoked duck with marinated yellow foot mushrooms & dried plums was one of the weaker dishes of the evening, but we are not calling it bad. This dish looks a little disjointed, with delicate mushrooms interspersed with duck slices. Lots of crunchy bits, which the chef seems to like to sprinkle on many items.
shaved cauliflower-herbs & pig fries is already a favorite dish. Extremely crunchy pork belly and jowl mixing with some thinly sliced cauliflower. Big time flavors make this is a standout dish.
wild mushrooms with pickled local nori & kale. Yes that trendy vegetable is still here. They take it to the next level in this warm salad. Interesting combination with the strong seaweed injected a massively strong flavor profile.
puntarelle & escarole with fermented kohlrabi & soft egg vinaigrette was pretty spicy with the egg giving it a soft texture. Good but not super.
treasure chest of fermented Thai sausage, trout quenelles, house made kimchi, pumpkin-rice dumpling in a creamy pork broth is poured table side. This is a spin on a Korean dish the chefs tried in NYC. Another wow, must order. Tender mochi that helped offset the savory and strong broth. Sausage had an intense smoky flavor. This is a different kind of dish that appears based on some Korean soup, but we loved it.
aromatic spiced squab with salted chili paste included wing and claws that we hope folks with nosh on. Juicy medium rare squab hit the mark. The lemon was pre-coated with traditional Chinese squab seasoning salt. The chili paste was super spicy. Radicchio was bitter. Guess we were supposed to try to use all 4 elements at the same time?!
grilled BN ranch beef with mustard-miso oyster sauce was topped with some crunchy bits. Very good quality beef with some angus flavors.
Guava-buttermilk sherbet, black pepper floating island & pine nuts was very lite with subtle tones. Spot on again.
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