Winter Citrus, Sparking Wine and Vermouth Punch
Apple Brandy, Pear, Cider
Whipped Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Maple, Hot Sauce
Hokkaido Scallop, Sorrel, Radish, Country Ham XO
Duck Liver Mousse, Huckleberry, Gingersnap, Candied Orange Zest
Broiled Shigoku Oyster, Smoked Allium, Seaweeds
Fried Firefly Calamari, Pickled Peppers, Marinara Dip
Spelt & Rye Dinner Roll, Cultured Butter
Salt-Baked Kohlrabi, Apple, Buttermilk, Cypress, Smoked Trout, Trout Roe, Sake Lees
Marin Coast Dungeness Crab, Cauliflower, Brown Butter, Brown Rice Vinegar, Asian Pear, Grits, Kani Miso
Arrowhead Cabbage, Monterey Bay Abalone, Brown Butter, Capers, Kombu, Kelp Powder, Abalone Liver
Sacramento White Sturgeon, Wild Greens, Seafood Bouillon, Lazy Bear Reserve Caviar by Tsar Nicoulai, Rillette, Salsa
Grilled Dry-Aged Sonoma Duck, Seville Orange, Turnip, Bitter Greens
Celery Root Bordelaise, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Oxtail, Pink Peppercorn, Fines Herbs
Orange Creamsicle, Sea Buckthorn, Malted Milk, Blood Orange, Pop Rocks
Palm Sugar Donut, Squash, Burnt Cinnamon, Maple
Lazy Bear Cold Brew Iced Coffee, Brown Sugar, Milk, Whipped Cream
Key Lime Pie Bon Bon, White Chocolate / Pear Macaron, Pear Butter, Sherry / Candy Cap Éclair, Cocoa Croquelin, Foraged Greens / Lemon Drop Gummy Bear, Olive Oil
Like most of The Bay Area’s most highly regarded Restaurants dinner at Lazy Bear does not come cheap, a nearly-$300 ticket before Beverages the cost of entry to what is essentially an upscale dinner party for forty willing participants, conducted over the course of just under three hours in The Mission.
Started as an underground pop-up, a “lottery” system replaced by online tickets when the concept turned brick-and-mortar, it by request that diners arrive fifteen minutes before their assigned start time to mix and mingle upstairs, a scoop of communal punch bright with Grapefruit as well as Booze followed by several small bites plus Chef Barzelay’s special Pommeau recipe for solos who are introduced by staff and seated across from one another.
The nation’s most highly rated “dinner party” per Michelin, two-stars in the 2019 guide placing Lazy Bear one above Chicago’s EL Ideas and un-rated spots like Playground 2.0 or Travail Kitchen, it is beginning in a well-appointed loft that a flurry of bites arrive in five-minute intervals, the most memorable a lazy-cut Egg emptied and refilled with its scrambled contents plus Hot Sauce and Syrup or the Petit Four of Foie Gras carefully highlighted by Ginger and Fruit.
Proceeding downstairs after half-an-hour, the night’s other solo diner a talkative man from Boston in town for a tech conference, it was toward the head of the table that full-vantage of Chef David and his team was offered, each member subsequently introducing a dish and inviting diners to walk up, get close and ask questions at any time.
Presenting the menu as a “field guide” complete with an area for notes, the ten courses to follow beginning with Parker House Rolls employing Spelt and Rye in combination with tangy Butter, it was following an offer for more Bread that plate one arrived, the combination of salt and bitterness at first startling but soon finding balance with smoke and a sweet linger that led nicely into a follow-up dish featuring generous chunks of Crab suspended in foam atop tender Grits and the Crustacean’s “Brains.”
Serious about sourcing, the menu described by Barzelay as “evolving” rather than changing with the season, it was utilizing both Flesh and Offal of local Abalone that the ninth of fifteen offerings showed well, the crispy Cabbage largely just for texture while flavors of the sea predominated, just as they would with Sacramento White Sturgeon served in a light soup alongside Brandade generously topped with Caviar.
Generous with Beverage pairings, the room growing louder with each course though servers remain a bit stiff, it was after explaining a multi-step process of aging, smoking and grilling that Duck Breast with shattering Skin was served essentially “a l’Orange,” both it and the Vegetable-centric Bordelaise to follow anything but “lazy” and the latter particularly noteworthy as it managed to completely reinvent Celeriac as rich and meaty rather than an earthy Starch.
Ordering Coffee before progressing to Dessert, Lazy Bear’s “Cold Brew” rich and creamy with a hint of Molasses, it was from a trio of Pastry Chefs that six items were presented, the Orange Creamsicle mellow and fun thanks to popping Candy while the Donut to follow was unfortunately dry and unimaginative, the better bites coming as Mignardises including a Pear-shaped Cookie splashed with Sherry and bite-sized Éclair piped with Candy Cap Mushroom Cream.