Best of the Bay 2012: BEST A LA CART

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BEST A LA CART

State Bird Provisions opened in late 2011, honoring Lower Fillmore's jazz spirit with inventive plates (a bargain at $5-18 a dish) flowing from the kitchen like high-flying jazz riffs — with one major innovative twist. Most are presented dim sum-style, rolled through the pegboard-walled dining room on carts or offered on trays for your pick-and-choose pleasure. Dynamic husband-wife chef duo Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, formerly of Rubicon, change the menu constantly, transcending now-typical seasonality restraints to take flight with visionary flavor combinations and presentations. A helpful map of the nation's state birds adorns the restroom, but there's only one on the menu: the California quail, of course. Fried and crusted with pumpkin seeds; sided with a couple cart picks like eggplant "fries" with pimenton and charred wax beans with pickled-egg salad; and chased down with dreamy shots of peanut muscovado milk; it's a real plate-licker.

1529 Fillmore, SF. (415) 795-1273, www.statebirdsf.com