We don't like to throw around the word "perfect," but State Bird Provisions comes close.
From the moment you enter Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski's exceptional restaurant--stepping almost directly into the open kitchen, where the impish Brioza warmly greets you--the experience feels different (click here to see the video).
In a novel twist, most of the food here is served dim-sum-style, offered to diners from carts and trays. Selections change often, the flurry of small dishes all the more enticing because of their unpredictability: Will the silky duck liver with almond biscuits ($4) be available? What about chicken salad ($5), the meat suspended in gelée flavored with Buddha's Hand citrus?
A few dishes are always on the menu, and can be ordered to supplement the circulating options. They include the silver-dollar sourdough, sauerkraut and ricotta pancakes ($6; click here for the recipe), and the State Bird With Provisions ($8 for half; $16 for a whole), a fried quail recipe from Brioza's days at Rubicon that inspired the restaurant's name.
In time, Krasinski's desserts arrive: butter cookies and carrot jam ($3), a buckwheat profiterole with a cloud of cream ($3) and, at last, a glass of "world peace," peanut milk sweetened with Muscovado sugar ($2).
In other words, the perfect ending.
State Bird Provisions, 1529 Fillmore St. (at O'Farrell St.); 415-795-1272 or statebirdsf.com