Lazy Bear is one of my favorite dining experiences of all time. Not only does Lazy Bear continue to hold their two Michelin stars, they have and continue to receive many other awards with local establishments.
It started as a pop-up before settling into its brick and mortar in the Mission. It has a cozy, woodsy atmosphere with the most thematic collection of trinkets and photos. This cabin serves up a well-developed curation of dishes with a tasteful touch of red plaid. Chef and Founder David Barzelay captured the idea of a dinner party perfectly with its communal dining tables.
The meal always begins upstairs in their mezzanine with a couple of bites and some alcohol to get the party started. The menu captured many feelings of nostalgia, throwing it back to childhood mornings with eggs & bacon for breakfast. Whipped scramble eggs was served in the shell with some sweetness from maple syrup and a kick from their hot sauce. Hokkaido scallop ceviche featured scallops from Japan since the waters currently have more oxygen than our Bay Area waters. It was a light bite with bright flavors like eucalyptus and citrus. Duck liver mousse was probably my favorite bite from the mezz! The mousse sat on top of a gingersnap cookie, which gave it a warm kick but the fruits kept it balanced and fresh. The citrus also transitioned itself well from the ceviche. Fried broccolini was a nod to the American classic of cheddar broccoli. Broiled shigoku oysters was topped with a smoked leek and heavy cream. Grab your spoon for this one. I got a mouthful of cream and left my delicious morsel behind 😭
Their bread and butter is their bread-and-butter. They have cultured this butter for such a long time that it has a personality of its own. It's cheesy and savory! So good.
One of my favorites of the night was their Dungeness Crab because Lazy Bear uses the crab in its entirety. The rice was cooked in a broth from the shell of the crab. The miso in this was so delicious and the acidity from the pear cuts through the richness, letting the subtle sweetness of the crab show. The Hexamer that went with this was perfection. Sommelier David Hunter did an amazing job.
Who can say no to abalone and butter? Not me. Arrowhead cabbage highlighted what a kombu dashi stock and some brown butter-loving can do to elevate something that is generally considered simple. Their abalone is aged for a week and then pounded to achieve a unique texture. The sauce also incorporated the abalone liver, lots of richness there.
Celery root bordelaise was an exemplar piece of how much Lazy Bear values their produce. This dish showcased a vegetable as the main component when traditionally a bordelaise is used with steak. I also liked the addition of the black trumpet mushrooms because it added another layer of classic flavors.
On to the sweets for the evening. The orange creamsicle was another nostalgic nudge to the typical American childhood. There are even homemade pop rocks sprinkled on top! So cheery and bright.
The Palm sugar donut had warm spices to cuddle us during this sweater weather. Instead of the typical pumpkin spice, they used squash because we can't be basic. It was paired with a coffee stout. The meal started and ended with a classic American breakfast pair: eggs & bacon and coffee & donuts.
The amount of transparency that is allowed amazes me. I love getting involved with my food and the Lazy Bear encourages you to ask question and chat everyone up. Here are some snapshots of the plating bustle. I unknowingly focused on the members of the pastry team, lead by Kim Conroy (third picture).
Cheers to my favorite Lazy Bear on her last day! Pastry Sous Chef Tina Nguyen said farewell and the entire team wished her the best on her future endeavors.
Thank you to the entire Lazy Bear team for such an amazing dinner. This will continue to be one of my favorite dining experiences in the world. It's a must if you're visiting SF. I can't wait until the next time I'm back.
Here's a fun fact for making it to the end of my posts: Lazy Bear is an anagram of Chef's last name.