San Francisco’s 2014 Michelin Guide ratings are in, and the single newly-starred restaurant is Best New Chef All-Star Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski’s State Bird Provisions. The much-adored restaurant, which serves inventive small plates from roving dim sum carts, reopened just this weekend after 9-month remodel that expanded seating, refined the décor and added a stand-up oyster bar. “This is the more evolved, totally realized version,” Brioza says of the revamp, a collaboration with designer Wylie Price. One of Brioza's favorite details is a sleek, art-deco front door with a massive chrome handle salvaged from the space next door, where he and Krasinkski are planning to build an ambitious, multi-level restaurant called The Progress.
Related: San Francisco Travel Guide
Best New Chef All-Stars 2013
San Francisco Restaurants
These Midwestern chefs are taking the homey foods of their childhood and modernizing them with spices and progressive techniques.
Butcher & the Boar (Minneapolis)
The Inspiration: Living in St. Paul, a city with a big German population, chef Jack Riebel ate lots of pan-fried pork chops with applesauce.
The Update: Riebel replaces chops with pork sausage and makes a sweet-tart sauce with hard cider, cider vinegar and pureed apples.
Rye (Leawood, KS)
The Inspiration: "Growing up in Kansas City in the 1970s, fried chicken was everywhere," says chef Colby Garrelts. "And then it just disappeared."
The Update: His fried chicken takes three days, starting with brining and ending with a baking powder-spiked batter for an extra-crispy crust.
The Inspiration: Chef Daniel Wright loves hot dogs with sauerkraut: "This area is known for sausages and hot dogs. We have access to incredible meat."
The Update: Wright puts a Korean spin on his beef hot dog, topping it with homemade kimchi, braised short rib and pickled cucumbers.
Related: 100 Restaurants Worth a Pilgrimage: North America
Minneapolis Travel Guide
Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.
The revered locavore restaurant loosens up with late-night steak frites.
One of the more tantalizing anecdotes about Chez Panisse in the mid-1970s (alongside all the sex and drugs and wine-soaked feasting with everybody from James Beard to Jean-Luc Godard) has always been the late-night steak menu that lasted for a few months in 1974. "There was no place to eat late in Berkeley, and it drove me crazy," says owner Alice Waters, who remembers driving all the way to San Francisco's old Vanessi's after work for steak frites. Her solution, bringing in a cook to grill New York strips after the regular staff went home, lost so much money that she banished it to the realm of nostalgia—until last winter. A few months later, when a fire gutted the front of the restaurant, repairs prompted a complete menu redesign, focusing even more attention on the revived late-night steak option.
If a recent Tuesday evening is any indication, bringing back this tradition was a savvy decision. Offered Monday through Thursday, from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. or so (which passes for late-night in Berkeley), this dinner in the upstairs café is an incredible deal. For $25, diners get a glass of house Zinfandel produced by Napa's Green & Red Vineyard and a 100-percent grass-fed steak from rancher Bill Niman, skillet-roasted in the classic French manner, with marrow butter melting on top and red-wine jus pooling all around. On the side are lacy-thin fried potatoes (more shoelace than shoestring) or onion rings, next to extremely tender and tiny watercress or arugula.
At one time, the notion of late-night steak in sleepy, vegetarian-dense Berkeley would have been unthinkable. But now, when you leave Chez Panisse, the streets are filled with post-theater crowds, and the bar next door is roaring, and everything feels just right.
Related: Cooking Like Alice Waters
San Francisco Travel Guide
Star Chef Tips on Grilling Steak