Take a Bite

Step inside for taste of Progress

April 21st, 2016

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

The 5:30 p.m. line outside of State Bird Provisions, sister restaurant to The Progress, which is next door at 1525 Fillmore St. in San Francisco. Just like State Bird, there is no signage outside the door and looking at the space, you'd never know there is a restaurant there.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – Before getting on a 15-1/2 hour flight to Dubai, I took a break in San Francisco and for the last meal of the day April 19 headed out to check out The Progress, sister restaurant and next door neighbor to State Bird Provisions.

It's named after The Progress Theatre that opened in the space in 1911, and today the name stands for sustainability progress as the restaurant serves as a vehicle for 100 percent local production.

Inside The Progress. I noticed the lighting along this wall was perfect for food bloggers a Instagrammers.

For their efforts, chef proprietors Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski—who opened The Progress in 2014—were honored as 2015 Best Chef West winner in the James Beard Awards.

The prix fixe menu changes almost daily and starts with a few wholesome "snacks," that serve as salads and appetizers, then your option to choose four out of about 13 light to heavy dishes of the day to share family style, at $58 per person. There are also about four daily add-on items.

It's a little like State Bird in the offering of a roster of delectable menu items, with add-ons tempting you as they are offered on carts that arrive at your table. There is always a line to get into State Bird because the James Beard 2013 Best New Restaurant winner has such a fun vibe and food to match. The Progess is its more sedate and sophisticated sister.

Here's a look at what was on the table:

THE SNACKS

Marinated parsnips with fig saba.

Yellow snow peas with lemon oil and sea salt.

Beet tartare on seven-pepper cracker.

.

Pakistani mulberries.

THE ADD-ON

From options that included Hog Island Sweetwater oysters ($3.50 each), grilled spot prawns ($16 for two), and broiled sardines cured in local sake lees ($6 each), we opted for CA sturgeon caviar topped with a potato cloud ($10 each), below.

progress caviar

progress caviar2

THE MAIN COURSES

Artichoke cavatelli with English peas, bone marrow and bottarga was very lemony. Because of the bone marrow aspect, I was expecting this dish to be a little more savory than it was. It was a treasure hunt for bits of marrow.

Double duck broth featured strips of duck in the broth and diced duck tucked into pillowy dumplings, sharing the bowl with mushrooms and turnips.

Grilled Llano Seco pork shoulder was topped with sunflower seed sambal, pickled carrots and ginger and lettuce for wrapping.

Grilled Spanish octopus with fava hummus, shaved fennel, toasted black rice and preserved lemon was the most assertive dishes we ordered, and my favorite of the evening.

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