Some Californians lose their minds over Dungeness crab, and they’re great, to be sure, but the short season that really inspires me belongs to the spot prawn. These large shrimp with firm, sweet flesh sport white spots on the sides of their heads and make for delectable eating, whether they’re grilled, steamed, sauteed, or served as sashimi. Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski recently featured Half Moon Bay spot prawns on the menu at The Progress, their family-style sequel to State Bird Provisions the former home of San Francisco’s Progress Theater. Choose your own adventure from a seasonal menu, or sit at the bar and order $5 “provisions” and $10 “commandables” in single servings.
During dinner with my wife at The Progress Bar, I was a big fan of the Crispy Wagon Wheel Gnocchi with Parmesan and green onion sauce, Polpette of Rabbit & Pork with nexl-level potato salad, and Poppyseed Buddha Cake, but the prize for the night clearly went to Half Moon Bay Spot Prawn ($10), grilled over almond wood and served on a bed of spinach drenched in savory roe curry. The dish was so impressive that as soon as one prawn hit the table, I immediately ordered a second prawn. Our only mistake was not ordering a third prawn.