Lazy Bear

Lazy Bear
3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
lazybearsf.com
Yelp

There are very few times I hand over the reigns to food planning.  Most people are not interested in dedicating the time to figure out what’s good to eat.  Triple F is not that person.  She keeps her ear to the ground.  She subscribes to foodie newsletters just like I do.  She has been tracking Lazy Bear since its days as a pop-up.  They are now so successful and popular, that a ticket, at their now brick and mortar establishment, can be pretty hard to come by.  It’s no exaggeration that this place is $$$$, but it was well worth it.  BEST MEAL OF 2015!

The set up is interesting.  They have 2 seatings for the night.  You arrive for your dinner service and pass the time upstairs noshing on little bites and sipping on drinks/cocktails, while overlooking the dining room below.  It’s like a pre dinner cocktail hour.  The punch we were served wasn’t terribly memorable.  It was light on the alcohol.  The little appetizers were a great way to start.

Whipped Scrambled Eggs bacon, maple, hot sauce

Those scrambled eggs were expertly infused with the flavor of Benton bacon.  It was a shot from umami heaven.  That savoriness was enhanced by the maple syrup and hot sauce.  It was everything that is great about breakfast in one fell swoop.  Yums!

 

Albacore fresh peanut, grape, black olive

This might have been the weakest bite/dish/course of the whole evening.  The albacore was clean but I thought the peanuts and dehydrated black olives were weird accouterments.

Foie Gras strawberry, sorrel 

Foie and fruit always pair nicely.  This was no exception.  The foie was really silky smooth and savory.  The cracker looking thing was actually strawberry meringue.

Caviar potato, sour cream & onion

This was described as a caviar cannoli.  Running Man did not appreciate the essence of sour cream ‘n onion Pringles that this bite conjured.  I was quite amused and loved those flavors in addition to the added salinity from the caviar.

 
Hot Sweetbreads pickled watermelon

It’s interesting how sweetbreads are always passed off like chicken nuggets.  This was probably the best chicken nugget impersonator I’ve had.  It was meaty, crispy, and seasoned with plenty of spice and heat.  The pickled watermelon relish with mustard seeds played off beautifully here.  We subsequently headed down to the dining room.  Yums!

Concord Grape Soda

As we were seated, we enjoyed some house made fizzy grape soda.  The grapes were actually fermented to make this.  The scent of lemon verbena brought some citrus notes.

Dining these days seems to gravitate toward communal tables and a shared experience.  Sometimes I’m in the mood to hob nob with my neighbors.  Sometimes I’d rather keep to my own party.  Either way, communal dining can certainly liven things up.  Look how happy everyone looks!

Spelt & Rye Dinner Roll house cultured butter

Who knew a dinner roll could be so awesome.  The spelt and rye lead to a more flavorful wholesome roll.  The bread was so warm, soft, and unctuous.  The butter had a funkiness to it, like cheese or yogurt.  The bread was just so good on its own.

 

 
Tomato Panzanella carpaccio of miyazaki ribeye, avocado, padron conserva, seaweed focacia

This might have been my favorite dish of all time.  The focaccia is deep fried in fat, which resulted in a sinfully crispy hunk of bread that just oozed a rich lusciousness.  The avocado was layered on top with a carpaccio of A5 wagyu.  It was totally described as “fat on fat” but it never tasted heavy or felt like too much.  The best part was probably the bed of crushed heirloom tomatoes that it sat atop.  It just brought the perfect amount of acidity and brightness to round out the whole dish.  This one deserves a double YUMS for sure!

 

Legumes summer squash, bell pepper, fennel and saffron nage

Squash, wax beans, haricot vert, snap peas and a variety of other legumes were braised up in some very complex way.  All I can tell you was that the veggies were crispy and fresh.  The foamy soup was a rich concoction of butter, saffron, white wine, and stock.  Spot prawn roe was dried, pulverized, and sprinkled on top.  Maybe the beans were a tad salty, but overall this was such a flavorful dish for being mainly vegetables.

Celtuce Stem & Leaves chicken skin, almond

More vegetables are highlighted in this next dish.  What is celtuce you might ask?  It’s a kind of lettuce that is bred for the stem rather than the leaves.  I appreciated all the different textures from the juicy and crunchy stem, toasted almonds, crispy chicken skin, smooth puree, and thin fried celtuce leaf.  It was salty and savory.

Fresh Corn Grits duck ham

This was a true testament to the perfection of Mother Nature’s bounty.  It being summer, corn is at the peak of its season.  They took only 3 ingredients, corn, butter, and salt to make the most amazing corn grits I have ever tasted.  They corn flavor was so intense and sweet in the best way.  I wanted another bowl.  The duck ham was made in house and contrasted nicely to the sweet corn.  I wish I owned a vat of this so I could just swim in it all day long.  So frickin’ good!  Yums!!

 

 


Grilled Berkshire Pork Shoulder grilled peach, turnip, succulents, stonefruit tare



The summer harvest was again highlighted with the use of peaches here.  It harmonized with the pork shoulder very nicely.  The recurrent theme at Lazy Bear is seasonal ingredients with balanced flavors and textures in every dish.

Miyazaki Ribeye Cap tomato, black garlic, eggplant

The ribeye cap was just the perfect balance of fat with great marbling.  The blistered tomatoes were bright and reminded us of Summer again.  The use of black garlic, house made sriracha, and tamari brought a bit of Asian inspiration.  Really nice.

 
White Sesame green melon, sake lees, rose geranium

There was a very strong melon flavor here.  The sesame tofu was a bit sweet and combined with all the melon flavors made for sweet on sweet.

Blue Corn bluecorn, whiskey

This dessert was very unique.  I’ve never had blue corn ice cream.  Kettle corn brought a bit of whimsy to the dish.  The blueberries were tart and the whiskey added sophisticated depth.

Vietnamese Coffee

Running Man wanted to try their cold pressed coffee.  This was a bit too sweet.

 
Semifreddo vietnamese coffee

This was a cold blast of Vietnamese coffee semifreddo that exploded in your mouth.  It was my favorite of the little sweet bites.  Yums!

Red Velvet red berries

This was more fruity than chocolatey.

 
Caramelized Apricot hazelnut, milk chocolate

I found this too sweet.

Lazy Bear was easily the best meal of 2015.  Up there with Lazy Bear is n/naka, but Lazy Bear is just putting out much more interesting food.  They take the best of the season and churn out some of the tastiest food I have eaten in a long time.  Memorable favorites are the whipped scrambled eggs, panzanella, and corn grits.  I came in with no expectations, not having heard of Lazy Bear since I don’t really follow the SF dining scene too closely.  But I left feeling overwhelming impressed by the night’s meal.  The only real disappointment was the albacore bite in the beginning, but everything else was strong strong strong.  I was stuffed and beyond satisfied so maybe the $$$$ price tag was well deserved.  The experience was fun too.  The cocktail hour, the communal dining, the little booklet menu with a pencil to take notes, the detailed explanations of each dish and cooking process involved, the fun upbeat music.  Lazy Bear is just AMAZE BALLS!
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome!
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Vanessa says:

    I was in charge of the foie strawberry snack and the fried sweetbreads! Glad you liked it!

    Like

  2. wow, that’s awesome Vanessa! You are very talented =) I’m definitely going to visit Lazy Bear again.

    Like

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