Don’t know how, but I somehow managed to get a 7:15 dinner reservation at Flour + Water on Saturday night. Apparently, the stars were simply aligned in my favor, as my attempt to reserve again via Open Table revealed that there is nothing available for the next couple of weeks – nothing! Not even at 5:00 or 10:30…
Started off with a fava bean, grapefruit and avocado salad. Beans were a lovely texture and the most beautiful shade of green. I did think the salad was just a tad undersalted – and we had to ask for salt (kind of an annoyance – I mean I get the whole “the chef knows how to season, thus we don’t put salt and pepper on the table”… but I think it’s a bit arrogant). Adding just a bit of salt took the dish from good to excellent.
Next up was some pasta: mezzelune with zucchini and Meyer lemon. Delicate half-moon pasta stuffed with ricotta in a fresh and vibrant citrus with some sliced zucchini. Chris and I both commented (as we did for the salad) that it was completely simple, completely fresh and completely delicious.
Finished up dinner with a pizza margherita with bufala mozzarella. The crust tasted marvelous – though it was soggy in the center. But again, the flavors of the pizza were straightforward and delightful – the sauce tasted as if the tomatoes had just recently been on the vine.
Desserts did not disappoint. I had chocolate budino – dark, dense, bittersweet (and with skin – the best part of pudding, as far as I’m concerned) topped with a dollop of coffee-flavored whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt. And it was exactly as delicious as it sounds… Chris had a crumbly-yet-moist olive oil cake with ice cream and quite enjoyed it.
Very good wine list, accompanied by some fine recommendations of both reds and whites by the glass.
The meal really did remind of Italy. The food was far from fancy, yet every ingredient sang – a clear tribute to their quality and the freshness. It never ceases to amaze me how four or five ingredients of impeccable quality can join together to create such a delicious meal. And the service was pleasantly leisurely – we shared each dish and they were brought out one by one, giving us a chance to really savor them and enjoy our wine and each other’s company.
And an especially pleasant item missing from the bill: the SF health surcharge. This is a pet peeve of mine, as it is so often included on the bills of very successful restaurants – and, while not enough to make me boycott entirely, it can be the death knell when it’s a toss-up between someplace that charges it and someplace that appropriately prices items on their menu to cover all of the costs of doing business… And I made a point of telling the Flour + Water’s owner that I both noticed and appreciated his choice.
The only bad part of the meal? That it appears unlikely we’ll be able to return soon, thanks to its popularity – though I’m sure this is not a bad problem to have if one is a restaurant owner…