photo credit: Krescent Carasso

Lazy Bear review image

Lazy Bear


3416 19th St, San Francisco
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Sometimes the sum is greater than the parts. Take the Backstreet Boys. Howie was never going to wow you with his vocals. Nick was a poor man’s JT. And… we need to talk about Kevin. But put them all together and you got magic. And if you ever managed to get your preteen self to a show, you had an incredible time.

Lazy Bear is a bit like a 1999 Backstreet Boys concert - an incredible experience, even if not every single component is perfect. We left our dinner there on a high close to the teen love we felt for “I Want it That Way.”

If you’re unfamiliar with Lazy Bear, here’s the premise: you pre-buy tickets for around $175 to attend either a 6pm or 8:30pm dinner seating. The whole group is about forty people, and you sit at one of two long communal tables in a very attractive, fancy farmhouse-ish space.

Lazy Bear review image

Since you bought your ticket a month ago, anticipation is high even before you get there, and only builds once you arrive. Before dinner, you hang out in this upstairs lounge area that looks like a rustic wood cabin with animal skin rugs and lamps and books. You start with some excellent snacks and a cocktail to tide you over. If you’re at the later seating, you’ll enviously stare at the people eating desserts below.

Then there’s the meal itself. The upscale American food is good, even if only a few of the ten or so small plates really impressed. While there are elements of an old-school fine dining experience, with complicated plating and waiters describing each dish as it’s served, the food isn’t flecked with gold and the staff is actually friendly. It seems like a place meant to lure young people into the world of fine dining. It’s not intimidating, it’s actually fun. There are bright lights for Instagramming, you can socialize with your tablemates (just pray they’re cool) and the waiters aren’t wearing tuxedos. Maybe the desserts are a little bland. And you sat next to interesting people on one side and weirdos on the other. But with everything combined, you’ll probably walk out loving life.

We had an awesome time, and recommend a dinner at Lazy Bear at least once. It’s the most fun you can have on a many-course fine dining experience, and you don’t need to wear your nicest heels or a tie. If you haven’t been yet, try and get your hands on some tickets. And keep your eyes out for the next BSB reunion tour while you’re at it.

The menu changes regularly, but here’s a rundown of what we had on our visit.

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Food Rundown

Whipped Scrambled Eggs

Served in a little glass with bacon foam on top, this was like taking a shot of breakfast. Weird and great at the same time.

Beef Tartare

We are suckers for beef tartare, and Lazy Bear nails it. It’s served on a housemade brown rice cracker that’s crispy and goes perfectly with the beef.

Spelt & Rye Dinner Roll

A fancy version of Parker House rolls. These were a little sweet for us.


Super fresh and one of the prettier plates of the night, with the scallops arranged in a little wreath around the buttermilk sauce. We’re into it.

Steelhead Trout

Soft, melty potatoes, salty roe, and a nice piece of trout. Nicely plated but not mind-blowing.

Rice Grits

A creamy bowl of rice with duck fat and piles of shaved truffles on top. We enjoyed this entirely due to the truffles.

Grilled Lamb

They give you a little notebook at the beginning that lists each plate and a bowling alley mini pencil to take notes with. I just wrote down “perfect” next to this one, so... yes, it was that.

Cured Carrots

Salt and sugar-cured carrots with bone marrow involved as well. Very delicious.


Surprise! It’s banana bread. Too dry, unfortunately.

Koshi Hikari

This is not a rare Japanese fighting fish, but a rare rice pudding made with sushi rice. The matcha cracker things on top are a bit too much like cardboard, but the pudding itself was great.


Two tiny crispy coconut meringue swirls. One of the better desserts.


Also known as miniature peanut butter and jellies that look like BB8 from Star Wars. These were very gummy - not impressed.

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