The Progress, locating near the Japantown on Fillmore, is the sister restaurant of the famous State Bird Provisions, which is a michelin one-starred restaurant. They are geographically right next to each other as well. Since my friend and I couldn’t snap a table at the State Bird Provisions, we were glad that at least we got one at The Progress. Though The Progress has not yet earned a michelin star yet, the Esquire magazine has named it the 2015’s best new American restaurant, and the chefs/owners, Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, are the masters behind the scene.
Since my friend and I arrived a bit earlier than our reservation time, the hostess has told us to wait for awhile while they are getting our table ready. On the left of the entrance, we saw the bar area. However, when the waiter brought us to our table….
We were surprised how spacious the restaurant is! High ceilings, light wooden tables and chairs. There are more seats at the 2nd floor, which my friend and I believed that it’s for larger groups. The gap between each table is well-distanced, which we didn’t get distracted by other’s conversation nor afraid that we would have disturbed the others.
At the very end of the restaurant, you’ll notice the open kitchen, where you’ll see the chefs make their moves, but not necessarily hear any noise! In contrast of the dim-sum style at State Bird Provisions, The Progress offers the dinner in shared family-style. Sharing is caring, right? To begin, the diners get five small plates to share, and get to choose four main dishes from the prix-fixe menu. Toughest decision ever.
To start off with the small plates…
Fried tofu and sprouted sunflower pesto was soft and silly inside, and crisp outside. The coating wasn’t too thick, which I liked it. The sprouted sunflower seeds were toasted, and added the crunchiness to contrast the smoothness of the tofu.
The marinated parsnips with fig saba made a light start as the fig saba was a bit sour, which stimulated the appetite.
This cured ham with bay area honey was a bit ordinary. The ham was light and with a hint of sweetness from itself. However, when consumed with the honey, the honey definitely overpowered it.
As the waiter introduced these pakistani mulberries, they are just as they are. It’s quite bland for berries as I was expected it to be either really sour or really sweet.
This ginger-chickpea hummus on seven pepper cracker was definitely my favorite out of the 5 small plates. It’s a nice twist on the traditional hummus dip. The ginger made the hummus so refreshing and palate cleansing.
Since I was visiting, and we were already there, my friend and I ordered the California sturgeon caviar on potato cloud at an additional $10 to share. This was strongly recommended by the waitress, and I was glad that we listened.
I was expecting the caviar to be sitting on top of the potato cloud, but they were actually hiding underneath the potato cloud. The potato cloud looked airy, but they were so creamy and smooth. I couldn’t even sense any air bubbles. As you scoop a spoonful of the potato cloud and the caviar, the texture was so interesting as the potato cloud was smooth while the caviar popped.
This is one of the mains, which is the half-moon bay halibut ‘ceviche’ served with avocado wedges, beets and spicy serrano creme mexicana. I love seafood, and just can’t have enough of it when I was in San Francisco because all the seafood are so fresh in the west! Ceviche is a seafood dish originated from the coastal regions of Latin America, which is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and spiced with chili peppers. This was definitely a fancier version of ceviche. No doubt that the fish were fresh, and can’t go wrong with avocado, right?
Next up, we opted for the artichoke cavatelli. Upon presenting the menu, the waitress had asked if we have any dietary restrictions or allergies, and I’ve told her that I don’t eat beef. Therefore, it was very nice of her to inform me that this dish contains oxtail bone marrow butter. However, they were able to make me a plate using the regular butter, while my friend still got the original dish. The cavatelli were al dente and well coated with the sauce. The sourness from the artichoke lighten up the dish.
These grilled llano deco pork shoulder were so tender! It was served with sunflower seed samba, marinated baby carrots and gem lettuce cups. It was a very Southeast asian-flavored dish.
I love to wrap everything in the lettuce cup, and put it in my mouth in one bite! The mix of all the flavors and textures.. yum… especially the sambal. It has definitely brought the dish to another level. Sambal is a type of hot sauce made from a mixture of variety of chili peppers and other ingredients such as shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, and ginger.
Last main, we opted for the so-cal swordfish, which was beautifully presented with pistachio ‘crema’, fennel-blood orange relish and flowering kale. The meat of the swordfish is firmer than other white fish, but it has a springy texture.
To end the night on a sweet note, we chose the roasted rhubarb crumble, with was served with buttery saffron-cornmeal sandie, toasted almond cream, and high west whiskey. I loved it! The almond flavor was so strong from the cream, and the tartness from rhubarb was very refreshing after such a meal. Personally, I don’t like it when the dessert it too sweet, so this was perfect!
Overall, it was a memorable experience as each dish consists of interesting flavors and combinations. The ingredients were fresh. The services were impeccable. A good balance between the proteins and greens on the menu. Looking forward to see the new progress in the future!
1525 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA
Tel: +1 (415)673-1294 (Reservations strongly recommended)