Lazy Bear – One of the Best Dining Experiences

Lazy Bear | 3416 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Lazy Bear

Lazy Bear describes themselves as “a modern American dinner party” and believes that “the best dining experiences are the ones in which we’re seated around a table sharing food and stories with others”. True to their word, this dining experience of sharing food and socializing is what I love.

How to Get a Seat at the Table

In the middle of every month (usually on a Wednesday), they release tickets to book for the following month on their website. For example, if you want to book a seat for February, you will have to check the website in mid-January for tickets.

They have 2 seatings. One at 6:00pm and one at 8:30pm which lasts about 3 hours each.

Perfect view of the dining area and kitchen

Prices

This isn’t exactly your “let just grab dinner” on a random weeknight kind of pricing. The prices range from $185 (Tuesdays) to $205 (Saturdays) for 15+ courses. A 20% service charge is automatically added. You can also add a wine pairing for $95 or their reserve wine pairing for $145.

Lounge/Snacks

When you arrive at the restaurant, they take you upstairs to the lounge area, and direct you to where you can start your meal. We got placed in the standing bar area overlooking the gorgeous dining area while others were seated around some communal couches.

While you’re upstairs, they also check you in, take your coats and start your first courses here.

Lounge area

After we were directed to where our place in the lounge was, we were welcomed with some boozy punch. I can’t remember exactly what was in this, but I like the punch as it had good fruity and citrus-y flavors, which is typically the type of cocktail I enjoy.

Boozy Punch

Then, we got started with some snacks (appetizers) that got me excited for the rest of the meal. A different chef came around with a different snack and described each one of them.

Cliff notes:

  • Whipped Scrambled Eggs: I knew immediately I was going to love this meal when I tasted this. The egg had the lightest and silkiest custard consistency and had bursts of sweet, salty and spicy flavors.
  • Hokkaido Scallop | Sorrel, radish, country ham XO (not pictured): This was a nice refreshing snack as the scallop was chilled, soft, and had a melt in your mouth texture which paired well with the crunchy radish that held it.
  • Duck Liver Mousse: They look like chocolate balls (how creative), but each piece was filled with super light and fluffy duck liver mousse. I love the combination of the savory mousse and unexpected sweetness of huckleberry, gingersnap and orange zest.
  • Broiled Shigoku Oyster: Oysters are one of my favorite seafood and this one was light, delicate, had a nice smokey flavor and had me wanting to chase after the chef for another one.
  • Fried Broccolini: Broccolini is one of my favorite vegetables and how can you go wrong when they fry it in a cheese batter? As delicious as that was, I fell in love with the preserved lemon dip! The texture was the lightest foam and the flavor was the the most perfect hint of lemon. It something that I can’t really describe in words, but trust me that it was amazing.

Beverage Pairing

If you did not pre-purchase the wine pairing, they give you the option to do so while you’re in the lounge. In addition to the boozy punch, they add a glass of champagne when you enjoy your snacks. Somehow, we got sold into a beverage pairing and luckily, it did not disappoint as it really did elevate the food that we were eating. That’s saying a lot considering I don’t typically like most wines, nor do I typically drink when I eat.

Bonus note: They’re also really generous with their pours and want you to enjoy the night. If you want a little extra of one you really like, just ask and they’re happy to pour you some more.

Dining Experience

Once you’re done with with the snacks in the lounge, they bring you downstairs where everyone shares 2 communal dining tables. They create a very interactive dining experience by encouraging you to introduce yourself to your neighbors, chat with them, and enjoy the dining experience with everyone. They also encourage you to go up to the open kitchen, interact with the chefs, ask questions and take pictures.

Main Meal

We started the main meal with some bread and butter and usually I skip the bread and butter at restaurants because it’s a mediocre filler for me, but this was AMAZING! The bread was so soft, light and fluffy and the butter… it was so silky, creamy and salty and I couldn’t help but eat all of it even though I’m sure it wasn’t proportional to the bread. I loved that the bread was still warm and the butter just easily melted on top when you spread it on. They were offering seconds on this, and I had to convince myself that it wasn’t worth getting so full off bread that I would be too stuffed for the rest of the meal. I kept thinking about the bread throughout the meal though.

Spelt & Rye Dinner Roll | Cultured butter

Next was a salt-baked kohlrabi, which is a turnip. Usually I don’t care much for turnips as they’re relatively tasteless, but I like how the freshness, nice crisp and neutral flavor balanced out the smokiness and the saltiness of the steelhead (fish). The steelhead just melts in your mouth and you can taste all the salty flavors just burst from it.

Salt-Baked Kohlrabi | Apple, buttermilk, cypress, smoked wild steelhead

I always get excited when there’s seafood on the menu. This Marin Coast Dungeness Crab was such a unique dish. There was a brown butter and asian pair “grit” on the bottom, with meat-y pieces of crab on top, and was surrounded by a cauliflower foam. I was impressed by how the foam actually tasted like cauliflower – and it was delicious too! The crab was cooked perfectly and kept simple so you can taste all the crab flavors. I also liked how there was a sweetness from this dish from the brown butter and pears as that was really unexpected. It left me wanting more crab pieces and cauliflower foam!

Marin Coast Dungeness Crab | Cauliflower, brown butter, brown rice vinegar, asian pear

Not only was the food delicious, but it’s so pretty as well. The next course was a cabbage dish. Underneath a dried cabbage chip was a nice piece of abalone and a small roll of cabbage cooked in some brown butter and capers. This dish had a nice crunch from the cabbage chip and a nice sweet and tangy flavor in the cabbage roll and abalone.

One thing I love is perfectly cooked, melt-in-you-mouth fish. Up next was a small, but perfectly cook and delicate piece of white sturgeon with an amazing smoky/fishy broth balanced with some fresh wild greens. I was afraid that the greens were going to be raw and salad like, but the hot broth that they poured over it gently cooked it a little bit.

This was also paired with some caviar on top of a seafood bouillon. I’m a fan of caviar and I loved the saltiness and brininess of it on top of the soft, creamy and seafood flavor bouillon.

The duck course was next and sat in front of me was a perfectly grilled piece of duck. The meat was nice and tender and the skin was the perfect combination of fattiness and crispiness. The orange glaze on top of it was delicious and the sweetness of that glaze paired well with the bitterness of the fresh turnip and greens.

Grilled Dry-Aged Sonoma Duck | Seville orange, turnip, bitter greens

Our last main course before dessert was a nice piece of oxtail on top of a celery root. As much as I love oxtail (especially when it falls apart when I touch my fork to it), I was impressed by the celery root underneath it. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had it before, but it had a great soft texture and there was something about the flavors that I really liked. I also loved the wine sauce that they poured on top as it was a nice mix of sweet and tang. I like how they added peppercorns as well as I love pepper and it added a nice spice kick to the dish.

Celery Root Bordelaise | Black trumpets, oxtail, pink peppercorn

Desserts

They had a decent amount of desserts for us to eat and I’m glad they designed the menu so that we had enough room for it. The first one was probably the most unique. The Orange Creamsicle was a play on our childhood favorites with a tang (orange power drink) flavor dessert and homemade pop rocks for a pop in texture. I liked how it wasn’t super sweet and it had a nice creamy texture. I loved the malted milk as well and could have eaten that with solo with a spoon.

Orange Creamsicle | Sea buckthorn, malted milk

The next dessert was a take on a Korean donut. The sauces were presented beautifully and you’re suppose to drag the donut through all the sauces and take a bite. The donut was nice and fluffy and the sauces added a nice creamy and crunchy texture to the soft donut.

Palm Sugar Donut | Squash, burnt cinnamon, maple

The last set of desserts were tiny bites. The bonbon had a perfect white chocolate shell, and a nice burst of creamy ganache inside, the macaron had an interesting carrot flavor paired (interesting as in it’s not a typical macaron flavor) with the sweetness of some chocolate nibs, the cupcake was super soft and creamy and the cinnamon gummy beat was a great sweet and spicy pallet cleanser to the meal.

Burnt Honey Bonbon | Vanilla ganache, white chocolate
Carrot Macaron | Coffee, chocolate
Hostess Cupcake | Caramelized white chocolate
Red Hots Gummy Bear | Cinnamon, olive oil

A La Carte

Just a side note that you can add some drinks to the dessert portion of the meal if you want. I’ve heard great things about the cold brew and I knew I had to try one since I was there. Though we opted for a decaf (it was a still only a workday), it was a great, strong coffee flavor. It was also just bitter enough so we can enjoy the coffee, but not so much that we cringe every time we took a sip. Though the coffee was great, my favorite part was the foam on top. It was a thick and sweetened foam that I swear could have just been a dessert on it’s own. The sweet spices that they add into it was amazing and I would have been happy with a cupful of that.

Cold Brew (decaf)

Verdict

Overall, Lazy Bear is now on top of my list for one of my favorite dining experiences. I loved the hanging out portion in the lounge, enjoying some drinks and snacks, and then the social and interacting portion at the dining table. Not only was the food delicious and left me wanting more, the staff was amazing, friendly and super attentive. I was impressed when they got my coat at the end of the meal without having to ask for my name and their attention to detail throughout the whole time we were there was appreciated.

I would totally recommend Lazy Bear if you want delicious food, great service and a casual, but fun night.

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