Along with Bibou, RN74, Frances, Locanda Verde, and Marea (the eventual winner), Flour + Water was nominated for a James Beard 2010 Best New Restaurant award. With such great company, we knew we had to check out this charming restaurant.
Found on a quiet block in the Mission District, Flour + Water serves homemade pasta and Neopolitan pizzas that incorporate local, seasonal ingredients (hence the menu changes daily). With a cold pint of Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale ($8), we sat down for a flavorful rustic Italian dinner. (One which we would happily return to California to enjoy!)
Alaskan Halibut Cheek ($12) with marinated artichokes, spring onion, watercress, and capers. The cheek is my husband's favorite part of any fish. Considered a delicacy, this cheek had a sweet, delicate flavor and white, flaky but firm meat. The fresh greens helped to enhance the sweetness of the fish.
Chitarra verde ($17) with fennel, lemon verbena, and prosecco braised mussels & clams. I was sold on this dish when our server explained how this pasta is made in-house. Made by hand, the dough is rolled flat and then placed on a chitarra pasta cutter that resembles a string instrument. The dough is hand-pressed through the "guitar strings" to create the square shape of this pasta. We loved this light, simple dish (no cream or heavy sauce) because we could taste the natural flavors from the fennel, lemon verbena, and seafood.
Carbonara pizza ($17) with bacon, hen of the woods mushrooms, pea tendrils, and egg emulsion. My husband had the biggest smile when this pizza landed at our table. Rich with bacon and maitake mushrooms, the star is really the creamy egg emulsion.
Mint Panna Cotta ($8) with Meyer lemon and pine nut biscotti: It tasted as light, creamy, and summery as it looks and sounds.
The restaurant only takes reservations for half of its seatings, leaving the other half for walk-ins. We called a month ahead of time to secure a reservation, but if you arrive on a weeknight just before the restaurant opens at 5:30 pm, you should be able to get a seat.
Flour + Water is located at 2401 Harrison St. @ 20th St. in San Francisco, CA.