It’s been almost a year since I left Lazy Bear where I used to work in the kitchen.
Since my departure, Lazy Bear has received two Michelin stars for the Bay Area & Wine Country 2017 Michelin Guide and I couldn’t be happier for the entire hardworking team! I’ve been wanting to come back and dine here to experience the delicious food and drinks that they offer. I first dined here back in early 2015 (read my review here) before I started working there and absolutely loved the style of cuisine and atmosphere. I would describe the food as modern American cuisine with a refined touch using beautiful seasonal local produce as well as impeccable luxury ingredients from around the world. The atmosphere is a hip cozy cabin like feel with wood slab communal tables and a warm wood burning grill.
Once arriving, we were escorted upstairs to the mezzanine for cocktails and snacks.
The top dawg was a wonderful cocktail to start off the night. Light, refreshing, and sweet, with a touch of smoky saltness from the salt rim. Delicious.
The whipped scrambled eggs is a signature dish at Lazy Bear and I actually used to be in charge of making it. On the bottom on the shot glass is sweet sticky maple syrup and homemade hot sauce that pairs so nicely with the airy light egg mixture that has been infused with smoky Benton’s bacon fat.
The crispy light brown rice cracker was dusted with a spice mix topped with halibut tartare and garnished with tangy finger lime and coriander flowers. A nice combination of sweet, spicy, and acidic flavors.
This was a killer oyster. I typically only like raw oysters as I love that clean crisp ocean flavor but this was pretty special. The oyster was broiled with a pungent green garlic sauce and a thin slice of lardo on top that just melted in my mouth.
The tempura fried pole beans were on point with the crème fraîche and allium dip, basically a sour cream and onion mousse. Simple yet super satisfying.
The house made soda was the perfect palate cleanser, refreshing, sweet, and slightly bitter after all the scrumptious small bites.
After all the small bites, we were seated downstairs on the communal table.
Roll over hemingway was another fantastic cocktail. Perfectly balanced and oh so tasty.
Our seats were front row and I wouldn’t have expected any other way. Special thanks to my old coworkers for hooking it up!
Of course the experience wouldn’t be complete without the adorable field guide menu. Inside the field guide, each page has a picture and short description of the dish and blank lines in order for you to take notes (you also receive a mini pencil, each unique with a different quote engraved).
The first course once seated downstairs is their famous bread and butter. I used to scarf down multiple of these pillowy parker house rolls after service back in the day. The spelt and rye flour gives the bread a nuttiness and complexity that pairs perfectly with the brown butter salt sprinkled on top. The real star of the dish is their house made butter that uses their culture that’s been going on for almost four years. The result is a tangy cheesy butter that’s incredibly unique and unlike any other butter in the world. It’s truly magical.
The sturgeon rillette was a beautiful opening dish with clean flavors. Both the sturgeon and the caviar come from Tsar Nicoulai, a local producer from Northern California. The rillette was extremely flavorful topped with a nice dollop of briny caviar swimming in a silky cool cucumber vichyssoise with fried potato chips, fresh slices of cucumber, and garnished with New Zealand spinach and watercress.
Abalone is a difficult ingredient to work with as it can be quite tough if prepared incorrectly. However, this abalone was superb. Super thin slices of abalone nestled on top of an abalone liver sauce was rich with an irony flavor, but in a good way, crispy brussels sprouts, and three types of mint (I definitely tasted some chocolate mint in there).
The peach pit was the final cocktail I tasted. Once again, like all the previous cocktails, this was divine and extremely well balanced. Nicolas, the bartender, creates such inventive, exciting, and most importantly delicious, cocktails that keeps me wanting more! Every single cocktail sounded enticing and I wish I could have sampled them all.
There’s always some sort of broth course during the tasting menu at Lazy Bear. The matsutake mushroom broth was a take on tonkotsu ramen broth, super rich and creamy. In the middle was a confited egg yolk that takes on a fudge like texture that’s pretty amazing. There were some pieces of rome apples that added sweetness and beautiful vibrant nettles as well as thinly shaved matsutake mushrooms. Truly comfort in a bowl.
There’s also always a vegetable focused dish on the tasting menu as California is one of the best places for incredible produce. The red kuri squash is roasted with its skin which had a pleasant bitter flavor that contrasted with the sweetness of the squash. The black garlic “pesto” gave a funkiness and complexity to the dish and paired well with the sweet quince jam. Lastly, the goat’s milk foam was tangy and rich and tied all the flavors together. A heartwarming vegetable dish that will make you forget about meat.
This duck is aged for about ten days which intensifies the flavors and tenderizes the meat. It’s then cooked sous vide and then on an open fire where it absorbs all those smoky flavors. It’s paired with various fresh bitter chicories, thinly sliced juicy sweet grape, a grape like jam, and almost a black olive streusel. I really liked the contrast of the salty black olive with the sweetness of the grape.
The last savory course was impeccable but it’s not hard to do when you have such a perfect ingredient. This beef comes from the Miyazaki prefecture of the southern tip of Japan and it’s unlike any other type of beef. The fat content is so beautifully intertwined with the meat resulting in a harmonious piece of beef that’s so supple and tender with a rich flavor that’s almost indescribable. The beef was served with purple cauliflower purée, pickled cabbage with pink peppercorn, broccoli romanesco, and cabbage powder.
This almost acted as a palate cleanser which was necessary after the unctuous beef course. The tart pops of pomegranate with the cool hibiscus and kaffir lime granita and fluffy pomegranate meringue all worked harmoniously together.
While rome apples aren’t the best when eaten raw, when cooked they retain its shape and the flavor intensifies. The caramelized apple was soft yet had a nice crust from the brown butter and nuances of vanilla. The velvety whipped yogurt had pieces of crispy apple skin chips topped with grated “walnut cookie dough sablé” that dissolved in your mouth. A delicious cider caramel was poured table side that tied all the flavors together. A true fall inspired dish.
Of course the meal ended with cute little desserts, all beautifully prepared. I especially loved the beehive pavlova with white chocolate and bee pollen.
Not only is the food outstanding at Lazy Bear but the whole dining experience is amazing. It’s fine dining food without the pretentiousness in a social environment and probably the classiest place to get hammered from their delicious alcoholic beverages. For any foodie, Lazy Bear is a must in San Francisco and I can’t wait to go back in the future.