Hard Water

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Hard Water is not the average Charles Phan restaurant.  Its a take on Southern/Creole/Cajun cuisine, a far cry from his usual Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, like Out The Door (see post HERE).  Admittedly, I'm not a big Charles Phan fan, but his diversion intrigued me.  Hard Water does have a pretty amazing location, right along the pier, which makes it a popular happy hours spot.  Unfortunately, they don't allow reservations so the small space does get very crowded. 

Most of the seating is around the horseshoe shaped bar with some seats along the perimeter.

Having just had Trick Dog's chicharrones (see post HERE), it only seemed right to order up Hard Water's version.  Both are fried very similar, but Hard Water's version was the veritable winner of the two.  Each bite sized morsel was fatty, chewy, and had just the right amount of spiciness.  The perfect amount of saltiness to enjoy with drinks.  
 Their hot homemade house is similar to Trick Dog's.  It adds a slightly tangy, but spicy kick to the chicharrones.

The milk braised celery hearts dish is exactly what it sounds like.  They are hearts of celery, so the tender inner stalks of a celery bunch.  Its deep fried and served with a aioli dipping sauce.  The first time I've seen deep fried celery, but I suppose you can deep fry anything so why not celery.  Not raveworthy to me, but definitely something different.

Another popular dish here is the fried chicken.  The extra juicy fried chicken is very lightly battered with a pepper jelly dipping sauce.  Although the meat is extremely well cooked, I just don't think I categorize this as a fried chicken.  The "batter"is almost nonexistent and not crispy at all.   

The braised rabbit comes in a mini cast iron pot with buttermilk dumplings and sage.  I had high hopes for this dish since it sounds so appetizing, but everything just seemed like it clumped into one mushy bite.  Not much flavor either.

I didn't know what to expect when I ordered the scotch kisses.  At $1.25 each, its a no brainer just to see what comes out.  These soft, gooey, toffy candies had a layer of sweet syrup that I want to say may have been caramel?  Sweet  and somewhat hard to eat (it sticks to the wrapper), they reminded me of the after dinner treats I had at Manresa (see post HERE). 

The banana butterscotch fried pies were the sweet dessert choice of the night.  These crispy pies had a nice banana flavor inside, but the butterscotch dipping sauce was a little too sweet for me.  Not exactly the McDonald's fried apple pies of my childhood, but not bad either.

Address:                  Hard Water
                                 Pier 3
                                 Ste 3-102
                                 San Francisco, CA

Type:                       Cajun/Creole

Popular chomps:    fried chicken
                                 pork belly
                                 celery hearts

Chomp worthy:      chicharrones

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