State Bird Provisions
1529 Fillmore St (between Ofarrell St & Geary Blvd)
San Francisco, CA 94115
Did you know the California state bird is a quail?
Why did we dine here? – State Bird Provisions has generated lots of positive buzz from reviewers to fellow food bloggers, with its excellent food and unique dim sum cart like serving system. 4.5 stars on Yelp, One Michelin star starting in 2014, James Beard award winning, you get it. Their sister restaurant next door is also fabulous, The Progress.
Our last visit was in 2021 for a meal inside during the COVID-19 pandemic as folks got vaccinated, restrictions eased. They have a huge Parklet outside, almost doubling the size of the restaurant!
They describe their cuisine as “An adventurous, inventive, delicious, thoughtful contemporary American restaurant [CA native].” We’d put it as New American Tapas.
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski (Rubicon) are the chef owners and have created a hit. The restaurant is down the block from The Fillmore. Stroll over to Japantown afterwords to burn off those calories. Or get some zen at the Kabuki Spa.
Insider Tip – Get there early and line up without a reservation. You would have to arrive an hour and half early to walk in. Often times you line up and are then giving a later time to come back. Reservations are tough as hackers are gaming the system with bots. Sit as close to the front of the room as possible, food comes to those folks first.
Cuisine – New American Tapas, Small plates
Location – Fillmore, Japantown
Opened – 2011
Service – State Bird Provisions had very good service with servers roaming through every couple minutes. They also provided helpful guidance.
Verdict – State Bird Provisions is an innovative restaurant with excellent new American food served in a fun manner. They exceeded our expectations with top notch combinations and ingredient quality. Having been here multiple times, the fan wears a little thin, but the ever-changing menu keeps it interesting. A great place to bring scissors. State Bird had several dishes with a big slant toward vinaigrette dominated flavor profiles.
We recommend you order some items off the menu, then explore all the wonderful food that comes by. The alcove tables are a great way to sample almost everything on the menu.
State bird adds 6% Healthy SF Charge.
State Bird Provisions Signature Dishes – Quail, short ribs, beef cheeks.
State Bird Provisions’s Menu features about a dozen starters and 6 larger plates. Some items need to be ordered, while others circulate around the dining room on carts or trays. Menu changes frequently. The items (ten plus) that circulate through out the room are not on the menu, but not during the pandemic. They have offerings for a vegetarian and vegan and gluten-free folks.
State Bird Provisions Food Picks:
Pork belly salad ($18) with plots & Fish sauce vinaigrette. The pork belly was flash deep fried giving it a nice crust. Fatty and well worth the extra time on the treadmill the next day. Four big chunks. The heat kicks in if you devour a jalapeño. 8/10
Apricots and roasted fennel ($14) almond ricotta and golden balsamic what is a good starter and perfect for vegans. Really refreshing very fresh ingredients. 8/10
apricots and roasted fennel ($14) almond ricotta and golden balsamic what is a good starter and perfect for vegans. Really refreshing very fresh ingredients. 8/10
Spring peas and beets ($16) cashew, wasabi lime vinaigrette was a little modern and would satisfy cutting edge vegans and vegetarians. 7.5/10
hass avocado with seafood ‘salsa’ ($8) came to our table from the cart. Fresh shrimp in a red sauce mixed well with the guacamole. Tortilla chips on the side.
heirloom tomato cabot cheddar whole-grain pancake ($4/piece) were interesting finger food hors d’oeuvres. A nice fresh chunk of tomato on a chewy pancake.
cucumber with kinako ( roasted soybean flour) & black sesame ($5) made for a crunchy – tangy combination, not particularly special. Good for vegetarians.
duck liver mousse with almond biscuit ($6) is a must get. Smooth, rich mousse with cool tiny biscuits. Amazing they only use 1 egg for each quart of mousse.
‘garlic fry bread’ with burrata ($16) was very good. Crisp fresh roll with lots of soft cheese poured on top. Peppercorn infused oil. On our last visit they use strawberry and strawberry vinaigrette accents. A little weird. 8/10
sourdough, sauerkraut, pecorino & ricotta pancake ($3/piece) came with some sauerkraut salt sprinkle on the side. An item we would normally not order.. This was fantastic. The alcove tables help expand your palette.
chanterelle, ham & fregola summer salad ($8) is a fun dish with pasta, cubes of ham, and crispy bits on top. A refreshing combination, one that we would order again.
fresh hawaiian heart of palm salad with tahini-chili oil ($15) was another interesting modern salad. An inventive combination of ingredients. A bit too much sour flavor.
‘soft poached egg’, parmesan-katsuobushi crumbs ($8) had a perfectly cooked egg with slightly overly robust flavors. Crunchy topping.
tuna tartare with toasted quinoa ($6) was excellent. Crispy quinoa on top of chunks of fresh fish.
Raw oysters ($3) are spiked with house-make kohlrabi kraut. They come on the cart, so you can sample one without guilt. Remember there are lots of different dishes to be had.
Chinese-style dumplings are filled with guinea hen ($2 each) with a citrus-spiked broth that explodes in your mouth, sort of like a Xiao Long Bao. Nice!
carrot mochi ($22) with pistachio and mint was a very modern savory take on mochi. A Japanese dish with fresh local ingredients. Not for everybody. Vegan. 8/10
CA state bird with provisions ($32 for whole quail) is their signature dish and a must order. Excellent deep fried buttermilk breading with tender meat inside. Wow! We were ready to order another one! It was worth standing in line an hour for this ONE dish. Interesting bed of pickled onions. This dish is more than twice as expensive as our first visit here! 9.5/10
1/2 dozen cast iron quail eggs with cucumbers ‘à la grecque’ & goat milk queso fresco ($14) came on a sizzling platter. A soft, yet rich fusiony dish that made for interesting combinations.
Smoked trout ‘creamed’ beets ($9) circulated around and looked good. Nice chunks of quality fish in an unusual combination with beets.
Homemade Potato Chips with horseradish creme fraiche and trout roe ($8) Another weird combo that works. Liberal amount of slightly fishy eggs along with awesome chips.
smoked trout-avocado ‘chip & dip’ ($10) is another classic dish here. The trout appears to be the same one used later. A fun dish with some crunchy, saltly interplay.
cumin lamb with scallions, date & agretti ($10) did not overwhelm us with cumin flavor or gaminess. Tender chopped up lamb and lots of veggies.
don watson’s lamb with cumin, squid, padrons & dates ($20) had a whiff of cumin smell but not too much to be spicy. Good quality lamb with some bean curd.
beef cheek salad, radishes & bone marrow ($18) was excellent, with its melt in your mouth meat and interesting wild greens.
Duck salad ($8) with celery root was a very good combination. Chewy duck with some crispy vegetables and candied almonds.
red trout with toasted hazelnut-mandarin-garum vinaigrette ($11/22) was simply fantastic. A must get, as they really know how to cook fish, amazingly good.
nectarine cherry sorbet ($12) yogurt cream, huckleberry caramel, hazelnuts was a nice fruity way to finish the meal. This was good but not spectacular. 7.5/10
milk chocolate sesame crunch, clementine-cocoa jam ($5) was nice and low cost, with a crisp cookie like component.
chocolate-coconut ‘ice cream’ sandwich, crispy pecan streusel ($5) looked great and was the nicer of our 2 desserts. Good portion size, high quality cookie and ice cream.
oolong ‘ice cream’ sandwich, cocoa macaron, hazelnut caramel ($9) had a subtle oolong tea flavor. The crunchy hazelnut confection was pretty dominant.
meyer lemon pudding cake, super vanilla bean cream, asian pear, dates ($9) has a light, airy, fluffy dessert with a strong lemon flavor. Good for those that normally do not eat dessert.
Cocktail grapefruit granita, yogurt tapioca, honey-coriander syrup ($8) is a nice fruity ending with a strong bitter note. Toned down a bit by the sweet syrup and neutral yogurt.
Coffee toffee ‘ice cream’ sandwich, dates, ginger fudge ($8) is a must get. Pretty generous sliced up high quality sandwich. Reminds us of Bi-rite coffee toffee.
rose meyer lemon soda ($2) and cacao soda ($2) were homemade and possessed subtle flavors.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
hog island oyster, spicy kohlrabi kraut & sesame ($3 each) was just ok. Not much juice and a spin on traditional add ins.
glazed pork ribs with spigarello & togarashi ($20 for 4) were average, smoky, not stellar. Order other stuff instead.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
kimchi & maitake ‘fried rice’ a la plancha with smoked egg bottarga ($16) makes State Bird more Asian. This fried rice was full of different vegetables and eggs. A bit too much on the sour side.