A trio of plump marinated sardines ($9) wore bikinis of roasted-pepper slivers they looked like a chorus line in some musical about a beach while a simple side dish of chickpeas ($5) turned out to feature fresh chickpeas. These have a wonderful spring-green color and a bit more juiciness than the reconstituted, beige kind. F+W's lot was also enlivened by a fine dice of pancetta, carrot, and onion (a meaty twist on mirepoix) and broth, which we daintily sipped after the chickpeas were gone.
Best of all, Flour + Water's brief dessert list includes an authentic star: a block of olive-oil-scented cornmeal cake ($8) topped with a globe of olive-oil ice cream a dense, smooth reminder that olives are fruit and flanked by split strawberries tossed with shreds of candied fennel. Fennel is a root, not a fruit, and candied or not, its looks are unprepossessing (like a frosted-glass lightbulb that's shattered), but its licorice flavor takes well to sweetening and to a union with sweet-tart, ripe strawberries. Enchanting!
FLOUR + WATER
Dinner: 5:30 p.m.midnight
2401 Harrison, SF
Beer and wine