A communal "modern American dinner party" focused on hyper-local ingredients and primal and modern cooking methods.

There is so much to say about Lazy Bear. And it's all stellar. From the most incredible service staff (every single one was fantastic, and we interacted with probably 10 of them) to the food. Each dish was brilliantly conceived and executed, and delicious beyond belief. There were some standouts, but there were no misses. Anywhere.

Lazy Bear is designed as a dinner party. Originally, the entire room ate together, served the same thing at the same time. COVID changed that to be traditionally segmented seatings. I can't imagine the amount of effort it took to change this, for both front of house and the kitchen. It's an entirely different way to do business.

I'm not sure I've been to a restaurant with a stronger brand, and such a thorough execution of that brand throughout the entire experience. The outdoors/bear theme permeates, from the painting of Yellowstone on the wall, to the locally foraged tea, the menu presented as a "field guide" (complete with instructions on how to navigate by the stars) to the restroom decor. 

The food is just out of this world. There wasn't a bad dish. Standouts were the beef tartare sandwiched between dehydrated beef tendon crisps (??) (best tartare I've ever had), the brilliant asparagus dish and our second lamb dish. (Yes, I said second lamb dish. Keep reading.)

Service was insane. Every single person was bright, present, upbeat, friendly, engaged and on point. There when you wanted them, gone when you didn't. Friendly in a way that you want to be actual friends with these folks. Starting with the greeter out front straight through, every team member was simply perfect. At one point, I left the table to take a photo of the room. My napkin was neatly folded when I returned just a few seconds later. They didn't miss a thing.

To bolster the community, family feel, the entire experience is narrated by this service team in detailed and interesting ways. They don't simply describe each dish, they tell its story. How it was conceived. What its meaning is. Every single ingredient on the plate and how that was made. Even the tongue in cheek was hilarious ("Ferraro rocher was the chef's favorite dessert as a kid. He received one when he was a good boy. He therefore did not receive many...").

It was not forced or rote. Each server (we probably saw 6 different servers) was eager to explain what was in front of you. When prodded for more detail or clarification on an item (as I regularly do), they were more than happy to stay and make sure every question was answered. Wines were excellent and the sommelier matched form. Friendly, excited, immensely informative. 

The Chef de Cuisine presented us the lamb dish. Perhaps he noticed us gnawing the bones for far too long. As I jokingly asked the waiter if I could box my bone so I could gnaw on it some more later, the chef snuck up behind me and said "You two have more lamb coming...". This was clearly an additional plate and off menu. He was excited. We didn't see anyone else receive this course.

He presented the same lamb but fully basted and charred. "This is the way we all prefer it. We can't serve it this way to the public because everyone expects to see the the bright pink cook on a piece of meat like this. But we believe this method is far tastier. Enjoy." WOW was he right. I'm not sure why we were so fortunate, but damn am I glad we were.

As a side story to this, I got up to go to the restroom while we were waiting for this additional lamb course. We did not have silverware yet, so I figured I had a few minutes. I clearly didn't. A server ran me down on the way. "Sir, you have a terrific dish that's on the way. I really would love for you to enjoy it straight from the kitchen." Needless to say, I immediately returned and it was promptly served.

Her wording stuck with me - focused not on their schedule, but on my experience. Sure, it's the same message either way, but it shows how deep their commitment to guest experience goes. This situation is not "in the playbook", yet it was handled with perfection. 

I didn't arrive expecting Lazy Bear to outshine San Francisco stalwarts like Manresa or Benu, but it does. At $265, this dinner is vastly underpriced. And I was delighted to find a restaurant that did not backslide with COVID (as Alinea, Atera, Koya and even CTBF all have). There were a few tiny missteps, but other than that, it was impeccable.

That's the word that kept coming to mind. Impeccable. It's rare to see a restaurant deliver such a cohesive and stellar experience start to finish. Lazy Bear does exactly that.

Get a "ticket" (as they call them) and come enjoy a feast in a bright, friendly atmosphere. I can only imagine that is has been quite a long time since anyone has left this place disappointed.

I was blown away.

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