Tuesday, June 3, 2014

State Bird Provisions

this is round 3 for me at State Bird Provisions. the first time was recapped here and the second time went undocumented. since then the restaurant has acquired a Michelin star! hooray! this time around was a little bit different in that we had a party of eight people meaning that rather than ordering from the menu a la carte or from their dimsum style of service, they gave us a pre fixe menu highlighting their best dishes. for $65 we were met with a generous sampling that covered a good amount of their currently offered menu. the dishes were brought out to be served family style in four courses. with every dish we each only got a couple of bites but with eighteen dishes to try we left with little room in our pants to breathe. seriously, the next time i anticipate eating a meal like that i'm going to lay out my pajama pants in the back seat of my car so that the moment i'm out of direct eyesight from the public i can let it all hang out and drive home in an awesome food coma already ready for bed.

please excuse the grainy photos as they were taken with my phone in a fairly dark setting. 

duck liver mousse with almond biscuits
this wasn't a part of our pre fixe but i can't go to State Bird and not order this staple from their menu. it tastes of foie gras and oh how i miss that flavor. the almond biscuits are slightly sweet and go really well with the rich unique flavor of duck liver mousse. 

raw oyster with spicy kohlrabi kraut and sesame
i don't typically like oysters but these were pretty good. i'm thinking that when dressed with other flavors to mask enhance the natural flavor and texture of oysters, i am game. 

local halibut-avocado and seaweed cracker
yummm! i don't know if they fry or bake the nori crackers but they're yummmmmy! the halibut and avocado is fresh and there is a sour note that brings it all together. 

stone-ground whole grain 'shortstack' with smoked duck, pecans
whole grain pancakes with duck and pecans can't be a bad thing. these were good but nothing to write home about.

zucchini frites 'caesar'
unfortunately this was nothing greater than a good version of the fried zucchini you might find in chain restaurants. still levels above TGIF but i wouldn't order it again for a restaurant with as much hype as it's got around it. 

smoked trout 'chip & dip'
this doesn't look very appetizing at all but it was really tasty! from the first courses, this was my favorite dish. simple but really good!

spicy steak tartare
full of lots of different flavors with some kick. this was served with a very thin cracker that i think was made from rice wrappers used in vietnamese spring rolls or something very similar to it. 

garlic bread with burrata
another staple on their menu. i LOVE this. the texture to the garlic knot is perfectly chewy and crisp and the simple creamy burrata with salt and pepper bring it home.

pork belly plum salad
aside from the duck liver mousse, this hands down my favorite dish of the night. but then again, when isn't pork belly the winner? the fatty, succulent dices of belly were fried in a light batter and matched with sweet plums, spicy jalapenos and fresh mint. this, for me, was a perfect dish. salty, sweet, spicy, fragrant, rich, bright. excellence! 

porcini & duck fried rice
there were some little bits of rice that were overly cooked and crisp, which i think was intentional and reminded me of the crispy rice at the bottom of a rice cooker or clay pot used for sizzling rice soup. mMmm!

1/2 dozen cast iron quail eggs, pea hummus, preserved lemon and mt. tam
lots of random things put together but this worked well. it was not a memorable dish but it wasn't bad.

fresh hearts of palm, avocado, necatrine salad with tahini-chili oil
the server said this salad had about 26 different items in it. hearts of palm, avocado, nectarine, tofu skin, pepitas, quinoa, various greens, etc etc. this was surprisingly my second favorite dish from the pre fixe menu. the dressing was a tad bit spicy. there was a wonderful mix of flavors and textures. i could probably eat this on a daily basis.

CA state bird with provisions
as much as i want to love the signature dish which gave name to the restaurant itself, i can't. this dish is okay for me. yes, the batter crispy and the meat tender and juicy but there is something missing from this. it's very one note and not super flavorful.

spicy kimchi yuba 'primavera' with poached egg
yuba is pretty much tofu skin. had there not been an overpowering flavor of ginger in this, i would've probably loved it. unfortunately i don't like ginger so my first bite was also my last bite. according to the koreans at the table, the kimchee flavor was on point though.

red trout, mandarin, hazelnut-garum vinaigrette
a very well cooked and tasty piece of fish brightened up by the acidity of the mandarin oranges and given texture through the crisped skin and hazelnuts. 

don watson's lamb with cumin, squid, snap peas, thai basil & dates
an interesting dish. while i've had squid and pork belly paired before, i've only ever seen lamb and squid paired together on an episode of Top Chef. twas good but not super memorable. 

lemon verbena chocolate crunch 'ice cream' sandwich, aprium and coconut
i've always enjoyed State Bird's ice cream sandwiches. the cookies are chewy and the ice cream light. we also had grilled poppy seed cake with blueberries but i didn't take a photo as it wasn't presented to look any better than a plate of cubed cheese might look. the ice cream sandwiches were far more pretty. this was a nice last sweet bite to end the meal off right. 

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