Liam and Chef Kim Alter of Nightbird

(Photo credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)

Foodie Chap Enjoys a NightCap at San Francisco's 'Nightbird'

with Chef Kim Alter

Liam Mayclem
September 04, 2018 - 2:40 pm

SAN FRANCISCO - (KCBS RADIO) - Kim Alter is the chef/owner of Nightbird and adjoining Linden Room, which marks her first solo project in San Francisco's Hayes Valley. Alter formerly worked with the Daniel Patterson Group for three years at the helm of kitchens such as Haven and Plum in Oakland, California. 

Earlier Kitchen posts include some of the Bay Area's most notable restaurants including Manresa, Ubuntu, Aqua and Acquerello.

Alter's menus showcase a commitment to technique, whole animal cookery, and support of local farms. Her food often takes familiar dishes to new places with creatives pins on classics. Alter earned a Food & Wine Magazine nomination for People's Best Chef in 2012 and 2013 with her talent for bringing "down-to- earth boldness to cerebral dishes." She won the title of "Best New Chef" from Oakland Magazine while at Haven, which was also named "Best New Restaurant" under her direction and awarded three stars from San Francisco Magazine. 

Chef Kim Alter
Chef Kim Alter
Chef Alter grew up in Laguna Beach, California and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. Most recently, Alter was a semifinalist for the 2018 James Beard Award for "Best Chef: West."

We met at Nightbird recently for our Foodie Chap chat. Chef presented a delish dish: "Lobster with Hearts of Palm and Corn" - the recipe is featured below for you to master at home.  

Enjoy my conversation with the thoughtful, innovative Chef behind "Nightbird."  Come for the set menu that changes with the seasons and as the garden grows. Attendees of the ballet, symphony or theatre can partake in the Theatre Tasting menu offering the best of Nightbird to early birds before curtains up on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5pm - 6pm.  The menu celebrates California's diverse culture & natural landscape. A treat if eve there was.

Plus, join the "nite owls" for a nitecap after dinner or powt show in the Linden Room next door to Nightbird - where "sexy" is back.

Cheers, Liam!

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the restaurant's name. It is Nightbird. We regret the error. 


'Lobster with Hearts of Palm and Corn' by Chef Kim Alter

Lobster with Hearts of Palm and Corn
by Chef Kim Alter



  • 1 ea lobster, live 1 ½ pound 
  • 4 heads corn
  • 4 ea hearts of palm, reserve 1 for shaving
  • 1 ea lemon
  • Salt to taste 

For butter poach:

  • ½ Cup Water
  • ½ pound butter, unsalted

For Broth:

  • 6 Tablespoon Smoked butter
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 8 ea Nasturtium flowers


  • Kill lobster by putting a knife to the head.  Tear the claws off. Tear off head from tail. Put a skewer through the tail and grill for approximayely 2 minutes on each side.  Let cool. Blanch claws in boiling water for 4 minutes. Place in an ice bath. Remove shells from both claws and and tail.  At this point you can roast off the head and shells and make a broth or a reduced sauce. This can be frozen for a soup later down the road or a rich sauce for a risotto.
  • To pick up the lobster, place a small pot with ½ cup water on the burner. Slowly add about ½ pound of butter till all is emulsified. Add salt to taste.  When ready, add lobster and keep on low heat to warm the lobster through.
  • Place a medium saute pan hot on the stove top and add oil, a garlic clove, salt and thyme.  Place hearts of palm in pan and slowly roll till all sides are light brown.  Sometimes, based on size, take the hearts of palm out of the pan and place on a small sheet tray to finish in the oven.  This will stop any dark browning. Cook through and set aside. Shave some raw hearts of palm thin in a bowl and squeeze lemon on them.
  • For the corn take off husks.  With a knife take corn kernels off the stock.  At Nightbird, I make a corn stock with the husks and the cobs.  Take half the corn and char in a hot saute pan with oil and salt.  Constantly moving the corn around will make them not pop as much out of the pan.  Remove the kernels from the pan and reserve in a warm place. Juice the other half of the corn. At Nightbird, use a champion juicer, however one can blend the corn as well.  Put the juiced corn in a small pot and reduce. Add salt and stir frequently. You want a thick, somewhat sweet consistency. 
  • For the broth steep the water and flowers for about 45 minutes.  Add salt and strain. Mount in smoked butter. 

330 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94102 
(415) 829-7565