Sturgeon Caviar Potato Cloud
Half-dozen Little Wing Farm Quail Egg Roti, Salad Greens, Wagon Wheel Fondue
Squid Ink Noodles, Oyster Mushroom, Tomato-Kale Dashi, Toasted Sesame
State Bird Peanut Milk, Muscovado Syrup
Chocolate Szechuan Pepper Cake, Kishu Cream, Kinako Brittle, Asian Pear
Shiso Rice Pudding, Greengage Plum Preserves, Candied Almonds, Umeboshi
Red Wheat Doughnuts, Bourbon Ice Cream, Pecan Pie Filling, Nutmeg Sugar
Per Merriam-Webster the word progress is defined as “forward or onward movement toward a destination,” and although Nicole Krasinski and Stuart Brioza’s Restaurant opened in late-2014 is actually named after The Progress Theatre which occupied 1525 Fillmore Street prior, the term also fits as it’s James Beard awarded duo have continued to develop their distinctive style from State Bird Provisions inside the century-old space.
In reality the Restaurant Brioza and Krasinski had originally planned to open, State Bird’s tremendous success literally “delaying progress” for over a year, it is immediately on entry that guests are faced by a small foyer most-likely filled, the hostess quoting lengthy waits even for bar seating while those who’ve made reservations will be lucky if they are seated on time.
Grand in scale, curved ceilings and a pair of balconies with tables overlooking an open kitchen, it is moving on from a bar which is usually two-deep that diners find themselves amidst noise and energy, servers who trend young exceedingly enthusiastic in their description of dishes that come from a check-sheet tallying twenty-two plus Dessert on this particular evening.
Anything but static, the menu evolving in-step with seasonality and ideas that roam globally, it was while two sipped on reinterpreted Tom Collins that first plates were presented, a “Sturgeon Caviar Potato Cloud” for $12 offering only two spoonfuls per mouth but both of them stunning as tiny bubbles burst beneath the heavily-aerated concoction on top.
Limiting the order after a lengthy day of dining, recommendations for “2-to-4” plates per person simply unrealistic at 9:00pm after an earlier dinner elsewhere, savories continued by way of jet-black Noodles bathed in an umami-rich bath, the salt of Katsuobushi reined in by slight bitters while Roti delivered flat but subsequently rolled-and-cut was exceptional in terms of taste but texturally a bit challenging as a result of whole greens served that occasionally took a good amount of effort to chew through.
Opting for an equal number of sweets with $3 shots of State Bird Peanut Milk as a bridge, proceeds from the creamy concoction helping to fund zerofoodprint.org, it is from Chef Krasinski that big flavors take center-stage, the unannounced addition of Fennel to Chocolate Szechuan Pepper Cake thankfully easy to remove as it disrupted any semblance of balance while herbaceous Rice Pudding and fluffy Doughnuts served along boozy Ice Cream and Pecans mashed into a sweet Paste were both delicious.