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Week in Reviews: La Trappe, L'Ardoise and Much More

Los Bauer is on vacation this week, but Amanda Gold picks up the slack in paying a visit to La Trappe, the two-tiered Belgian restaurant/beer specialist in the old Buca Giovanni space on Columbus and Greenwich:

It's the type of place that caters to larger groups willing to spend the evening. Servers, though friendly, are scattered and sometimes slow, the room can be noisy, and humongous portions beg to be shared ... It demonstrated that La Trappe is still having a few growing pains both in and out of the kitchen. Plus, the no-reservations policy means you may endure long waits on weekend nights - that is, if you're willing to brave the parking or taxi situation to get there.

But for those in the mood for a cold, interesting brew and a casual bite, it's worth a visit.

Gold's consensus in her fairly mild, middle of the road two-star review: when ordering, stick to the often-solid Belgian classics, look at the pretty bricks, expect "blase" service and dive into the 197 choices of Belgian and Trappist brews. [Chron]

Paul Reidinger is the first major reviewer to take a crack at L'Ardoise, Thierry Clement's little French bistro in Duboce Triangle, and once you weather through the crowd, it's mostly good news: "L'Ardoise, then, is the comfy local bistro this arboreal part of town has been waiting for. Its obvious near relations are Le Zinc (in Noe Valley), Le P'tit Laurent (in Glen Park), and Zazie (in Cole Valley), and it certainly matches up well against any of them. It helps that bistro cooking is a well-established culinary genre, and Clement knows the drill. But I did wonder why there was no pot of Dijon mustard to accompany the otherwise appealing, if mainstream, charcuterie plate ($9): an array of two squares of pâté (one made with liver), a shower of oily, garlicky saucisson coins, and a jumble of green and black olives, cornichons, and caperberries. The lack of mustard wasn't fatal, but it was noticeable." [SFBG]

According to her subtitle, Ms. Meredith Brody "prowls the jungles of the Tenderloin" for Vietnamese (no comment) and this Wednesday's SF Weekly review is a triple shot at Pagolac, Mangosteen and Lee's Sandwiches. Her take on Pagolac: "The bo 7 mon is a raging bargain at $16 a person (minimum two people), combining fun, theater, and good eating. A platter heaped with lettuce leaves, basil, mint, cilantro, and carrot and daikon slivers is brought to the table, along with stiff rice-paper crepes — they turn translucent while softening in a bowl of hot water — and fish sauce ... From the traditional Southeast Asian taste profile of hot, sour, salty, and sweet, we found only the hot a little wanting; nothing brought a flush to the face." [SFW]

ELSEWHERE: Miriam Morgan has 2.5 stars for Mountain View's Xanh, the Merc's Aleta Watson joins the Vietnamese parade at San Jose's Fuel, Tablehopper is at Troya, East Bay Express gives Oakland's Cocina Poblana an "A" for effort but not for execution, and Michael Bauer Sunday review was a fun one, as he dropped the deuce on Pat Kuleto's Waterbar.