I get nervous a lot. Exploring new places, whether mentally, emotionally, or professionally, is terrifying, and it is fair to say that the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. From a citywide pillow fight (yes, this exists), New York, New York (take me back!), half-marathon training (is it June yet?), and skydiving (what the hell did I get myself into), everything seems to have happened so fast, yet not fast enough. But instead of being overwhelmed, as I tend to feel, I greeted everything with a sense of adventure, terror, and intention and with a state of mind where I’m ready to FSU and be heard.
Even so, I struggled with writing this negative restaurant review because the place has recently become very renowned in San Francisco. Many friends and colleagues loved it, and I expected a similar experience; However, I walked out last night feeling unsatisfied and unsure what to make of it until I realized that I could make of it what I want because that’s what this city is all about – originality, freshness, and opinions.
State Bird Provisions is a ten-minute walk from my house, and so a two-hour wait at this tiny, small-plates restaurant was not my idea of enjoyable. However, wait I did, expecting to be blown away but instead being disappointed and still starving.
The menu boasts a decent amount of small plates and “provisions” from which to build your dinner around. But it doesn’t tell you that there are at least a half-dozen tapas-like dishes that various servers bring to you to try out if you wish. And by “bring to you,” I mean “thrust in your face every 4-5 minutes, interrupting your conversation and charging you exorbitantly for whichever you choose.”
I could barely focus on the food I did order because of the barrage of servers telling me what I should order, and I wasn’t impressed either way. The mushroom dumplings were a good starter but extremely tiny; crab farro was decent, but it needed much more seasoning, and when my friend and I asked for black pepper, the cook gave us a dirty look and grudgingly obliged. The sturgeon pancake was the highlight of the meal, and I only wish I had ordered two more of them and nothing else so that I would have eaten decently. Needless to say, I left befuddled by what the fuss is about and annoyed at how much I paid for still being hungry.
This place may be all the rage, but to me, it is over-hyped and over-complicated. That may be the wrong thing to say, given how much people seem to love it, so I advise you to explore for yourself and make of it what you will.