James Beard Foundation Awards
2013 Finalist: Rising Star Chef
2012 Finalist: Rising Star Chef
2011 Finalist: Rising Star Chef
2010 Finalist: Best New Restaurant
GQ’s food critic Alan Richman writes: “Flour + Water is sneakily sophisticated, with remarkable ingredients and stunning layers of flavor that don’t stray from easy-to-eat… Everybody loves informal Italian dining. Flour + Water might be as good as it gets.”
“This is serious pizza: light and crispy with great sauce, delicate crust, and toppings like sausage, summer squash, eggplant, and Padrón peppers. The changing tasting menu features light, well-crafted pastas with interesting off-center flavors: pickled veal tongue, rabbit, hen, and lamb shank.”
Flour + Water is a great neighborhood spot on the corner of Harrison and 20th, but it’s also just a great restaurant.
Congratulations to all of the other Bay Area nominees, especially our fellow Best New Restaurant finalists Frances & RN74!
Despite its low-concept name, flour + water, which opened in May in a restored Victorian building on a quiet corner a few blocks from the center of the Mission District, is the latest in a steady stream of high-caliber Italian restaurants to enter the neighborhood.
Other new restaurants might have risen higher, but none captured San Francisco’s aspirations better than Flour + Water. Owners David White and David Steele found expandable talent in chef Thomas McNaughton, whose confidence seemed to swell as Flour + Water‘s reputation went New York Times. Even cannier than enlisting McNaughton, White and Steele understood that this is a city that loves to glimpse the sublime in the offhand.
This is how laid-back Flour + Water is: Servers are encouraged to wear street clothes at work. And once your bottle of wine has been “nosed” for quality by the bartender, it’s up to you to pour it at the table.
This noisy new restaurant has everyone trekking to an otherwise abandoned corner of the Mission, for dough peppered with flavor from the fire, dressed with whip-fresh tomato sauce and worthy of worship.
Signature Item: Margherita (with tomato sauce, Fior di Latte and extra-virgin olive oil). The puffy, charred cornicione (end crust) is the result of just two minutes in the 800-degree wood-burning oven imported from Italy.
Thomas McNaughton takes two simple ingredients – flour and water – to new heights, creating exceptional wood-oven pizza, and pastas such as chestnut tagliatelle with braised pheasant, roasted squash and sage; and winter savory pappardelle with pork sausage.
People are practically busting down the doors for Flour + Water’s yummy pasta and wood fired pizzas. Chefs Tom McNaughton and Jon Darsky take us through the kitchen. Click here to see the video.
Naming an Italian restaurant Flour + Water is a bit of a dare, as if to say, “Look what we can do with the humblest and simplest of ingredients.”
Attention, Mission hipsters and wood-fired pizza lovers: Flour + Water is open for business, featuring chewy thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas and house-made pastas, complemented by Italian wines. The restaurant is Mission-centric, with the chef living above the restaurant and the owners and designer residing nearby.
Yesterday I stopped by the Mission’s latest addition, Flour + Water, to see how the team is doing after being open for a week. The answers, it seems, are 1) they’re hot (small kitchen plus heat wave=sauna) 2) overworked and 3) unfailingly kind and cheerful, taking time to squire me around the kitchen.
Here’s a novel way to look at the recession: A lab for testing a restaurant strategy based on thrift. That’s how David White, a former restaurant owner, and David Steel, an investment banker, like to think of their decision to open Flour + Water.
Any legitimate denomination, creed, or cult is held together by a fundamental set of ideals, from the five pillars of Islam (profession of faith, pilgrimage to Mecca, etc), to the two pillars of Heaven’s Gate (mass suicide and Nikes). Piously observing the ideals of Italian face-stuffing, <strong>Flour + Water</strong>.
David Steele and David White are in the hunter-gatherer phase of the build-out of their soon-to-be Mission-neighborhood restaurant flour + water.
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