Before the business portion of my San Francisco jaunt began, I was able to pencil in some family time with my Bay Area-dwelling cousins: Jessica, Andrew, and Michael. I’ve been desiring a dinner at pizza and pasta powerhouse Flour + Water for years now, and all three cousins were game for a whole lotta carbs.
Without advance reservations, our party planned to meet when doors opened at 5:30 PM to avoid waiting for a table. Unfortunately, Cousin Andrew couldn’t escape the grind until past 6, so we were stuck waiting for 2.5 hours (even though we were originally quoted 1.5 hours). It was admittedly a little painful, but we persevered without getting overly peeved.
Bread is available only by request; after our lengthy wait, it was highly necessary! The crusty loaf, with a noticeably doughy interior, was served with grassy olive oil.
The entire table loved the Mangalitsa terrina served with whole grain mustard, pickles, and sourdough toast points ($16). It’s hard to keep a table full of Vietnamese kids away from a slab of pâté…just sayin’.
The king salmon zeppole with lemon crème fraiche ($7) didn’t really deliver for me, unfortunately. While I was expecting a classic doughnut-like zeppole, the deep-fried nuggets that arrived were crumbly and airy with not nearly enough salmon eggs. On the flip side, with fewer expectations, Cousin Jessica quite dug this unorthodox deep-fried dough.
I learned this evening that Cousin Andrew is a squash kinda guy, so we ordered the brown butter-roasted squash with pumpkin seeds and stracciatella ($14). This dish wasn’t particularly thrilling, but it was solid and lovely in its straightforward way, especially the luscious stracciatella.
And then came the carbs! First up was the salsiccia pizza ($19) with veal sausage, piave vecchio cheese, wild nettles, olives, garlic, and basil. The tender sausage crumbles were a definite highlight, but overall the pie suffered from over-salting this evening. Wah wah…
The nasturtium cappellacci dei briganti with braised rabbit, blue chanterelles, and tomato bread crumbs ($19) really delivered. The hearty, textured, and well-balanced toppings suited the hat-shaped noodles just right.
My fave noodle of the night was the squid ink corzetti with braised squid, heirloom tomato, and purslane ($19). The tomato-based sauce was positively zesty with an oceanic undertone that I really dug. The squid was as tender as ever.
The agnolotti dal plin ($18), jagged-edged parcels stuffed with a trio of braised meats including hen, pork, and beef, was a pleasant addition to our spread. I especially dug its toothsome texture and simple butter sauce.
First up for dessert were a few melted scoops of cantaloupe gelato ($8). Neither the flavor nor the texture satisfied this gelato lover.
Fortunately, the chocolate budino with ($8) espresso cream and sea salt came through like a champ! The dense, rich, not-too-sweet pudding paired gorgeously with the whipped espresso cream. The salty shards kept our spoons coming back for more.
Our dinner at Flour + Water had its high and middling points, but it didn’t deliver the kind of world-rocking, palate-swooning meal that I was hoping for overall. Still, the company was great and the vibes were fun.
Flour + Water
2401 Harrison Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
One year ago: Xiao Long Bao in Shanghai: Xiao Jin Ling
Two years ago: Proof Bakery – Los Angeles (Atwater Village)
Three years ago: Dinner at Farmshop – Los Angeles (Santa Monica)
Four years ago: Flour Bakery + Cafe – Boston
Five years ago: Corton – New York City
Six years ago: Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ – Vietnamese Fried Chicken
Seven years ago: Chuối Nếp Nướng
Eight years ago: Irish Pub – Philadelphia