Review: The Progress (San Francisco)
A little more than a year ago, almost to the day, I wrote a review about a popular SF restaurant, State Bird Provisions. Less than a year after, State Bird’s sister restaurant The Progress opened and through friends (Thanks Christina!) I was able to get a reservation.
The Progress is right next door to its sister restaurant, but employs a different menu style. All items are served family style, and each table picks 6 items for $65/person. The chefs scale up the portions based on your party size, so it ends up being just the right amount of food. I certainly left the meal feeling full, but not stuffed.
Overall, I really enjoyed all of the food. Most of it was very well balanced and the ingredients were incredibly fresh. You definitely could taste the quality immediately. It’s hard to say anything negative about the experience, but it felt like the price point was a little bit off. With two drinks and food, each of us were looking at bills well over $100. Given the quantity of food, it felt like a little much. I would definitely enjoy eating some of the dishes again, but I can’t honestly imagine that I will make it back any time soon.
Comparing this to State Bird may be unfair since they are trying to be independent establishments. But with the close proximity, and food/plating style, comparison comes naturally. Both restaurants have a distinct charm with well-trained and attentive wait staff. For me though, State Bird is the winner by a long shot serving up a a more creative menu with better portion sizes.
Local kiwi with super-fresh ricotta, almonds & pickled sunchokes: The ricotta was freshly made in house and the texture was divine. A lovely, fresh beginning to the meal.
Porcini & mt. tam dumpling with nettle salsa verde: The dumplings had a creamy, soft porcini mushroom filling. I could have eaten about 10 more.
Red snapper with turnips and creme fraiche: Probably my favorite item of the day. The snapper was fresh and the sauce really complimented the flavors.
Pecorino ‘roti’ with perigord truffle buttermilk: The roti was flaky and delicious and the buttermilk sauce was light and flavorful. Not all bites had the truffle shavings, but the ones that did were divine.
Dungeness crab, bok choy & tofu ‘stir-fry’: I need to figure out how to recreate this light ginger sauce. The crab meat was fresh and delicious.
Aromatic spiced squab with salted chili paste: Served with small pieces of lettuce, the squab was tender and perfectly cooked. The seasoning was very spice forward, but didn’t overpower the squab at all.
Grilled Five Dot Ranch beef with mustard-miso oyster sauce: The ordered this as an add on ($10/person) for three since I don’t eat red meat.
Desserts: We sampled all three of the available options. Unfortunately, I didn’t note down what was in each of them, but they were all just okay.
Rating: 4 out of 5- Loved the food, but I think the pricing and the difficulty getting a reservation make it skippable.