Live fire cooking has gained over the last several years more and more attraction in restaurants. Birdsong, recently awarded with a second Michelin star, by Chef Christopher Bleidorn was one of the earlier adapters in his restaurant which focuses on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest and also using every part of the animal. All this taken together really attracted us to visit the restaurant and weren’t disappointed. Very creative but also playful dishes, executed at a very high level with a strong focus on seafood. The live fire aspect was obviously one of the overarching themes of the night which really were apparent in nearly all dishes and sets the restaurant apart. Coupled with great, yet relaxed, not rushing service makes Birdsong one of our favorite tasting menus in SF.
The Chefs Counter is really the best place in the restaurant - close to the action throughout the night
root broth, braised wakame, smoked mussels, shrimp - very flavorful broth with a strong smokey component from the mussels. The braised wakame adding a slightly sweet background taste
shigoku oyster, chicken fat, cauliflower - flavorful cauliflower foam from the iSi whipper covered a great mixture of oysters and different small cut vegetables. Chicken fat (and fat was a component which the restaurant used successfully throughout the night in different dishes) helped to add this lip-coating feeling of great dishes.
trout roe, apple cider sabayon, chestnut, spaghetti squash - good interplay of the salty roe and slightly fruity sabayon. Chestnut and squash added earthiness and texture
trout tail end prepared like lox, puffed skin, fresh cheese - classic combination of “cracker”, lox, cream cheese elevated to another level
trout loin cured in cedar, shiso, pine needle condiment - marriage of the forrest and sea with the trout permeated, but not overpowered, by the cedar. This was served in a vinegar which you drink afterwards that captured those flavors.
dungeness crab, smoked pine nuts, yoghurt, cucumber - nice presentation of the dish with crab shell covering the bowl. Sweet crab meat paired well with yoghurt, rice and cucumbers and small bursts of smokiness from the pine nuts
sea urchin cream puff, fermented shiitake, savory butterscotch - what a great single bite - flavors of the sea from the uni upfront, followed by a burst of umami from the shittake filling of the cream puff and rounded out by the slightly sweet, yet unami/savory butterscotch. One of the highlights of the night and we could have eaten ten of those
cornbread & caviar - prepared at the table by the sommelier. Cornbread made from heirloom grains had a good mix of earthiness and sweetness and was covered by a mixture of whipped cream and plenty of clarified butter and topped with plenty of caviar. A rustic yet so refined dish and another highlight.
quail, lacquered & smoked, grilled parker house rolls - Nice example of their creative, playful approaches to dishes. The quail breast are used with parker rolls, apricot butter and condiments to create your own sandwiches and dip it into quail jus. The quail legs are elevated finger food to gnaw on.
wild antelope, grilled endive - 40 days aged antelope was very well executed with the grilled endive. But as with many meat courses in tasting menus it often feels included in the progression as it is expected by many customers but it often doesn’t have the same creativity/spark. Good course but a bit “boring” compared to all the other courses
chamomile sorbet, citrus, mint, honey - very refreshing sorbet which worked nicely with the yoghurt base which included citrus and mint notes. The drizzled honey added some gentle sweetness
Freshly brewed coffee before the last dessert included an excellent, warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie
mt. tam cheesecake, shinko pears, buttermilk - Nice cheesecake with an earthy flavor from the mt. tam cheese but balanced by the tangy buttermilk ice cream and slightly sweet thin pieces of shinko pears