The review rehash begins today with Patty Unterman, who must endure a slog in the rain and a Castro cocktail as she waits for a delayed reservation at L'Ardoise (although we're sure she was nice about it). But things turn out in the end: "L'Ardoise is worth the wait and the extra effort. Chef/owner Thierry Clement, formerly of Fringale, does what the French do best: cook on a gas stove. Using this single piece of equipment in a miniscule kitchen partially visable through a brightly lit cutout window, Clement skillfully turns out classic bistro fare. Old-school, old-world, old-fashioned, without a whiff of California conscience, his cooking is comforting and delicious." [SF Examiner]
Meanwhile, the Bauer Bouquet is in Healdsburg, swirling around Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in an attempt to sniff just the slightest aroma of Palmer's involvement. "If my last visit is any indication, he needs to concentrate on what comes out of the kitchen. We encountered poorly seasoned dishes, foods served at the wrong temperature and plates that lacked the precision one expects when most main courses are more than $30." Though the volume of wine offerings is impressive: "one of Dry Creek's main draws is the wine list, which features 600 Sonoma wines, including more Pinot Noirs than I'd seen in one place." Still Bauer throws Charlie the deuce. [Chron]
Meanwhile we follow Paul Reidinger into the underbelly of La Trappe to unravel the mystery of a restaurant and bar that aligns itself with beer-brewing, contemplatively silent Trappist monks: "If this is true, its' certainly in the beer sense and not the silent sense. Of course, beer does not conduce to silence, especially in the young...and La Trappe is nothing if not a haven for the young. And it's in North Beach! North Beach has young people, tons of them, not just aging Italian tailors." After weeding through the whippersnappers, Reidinger finds the food "solid and satisfying across a broad range" and is happy to find a burger that "might be holding best burger" in San Francisco, which he dubs "a city of bad burgers." [SFBG]
And The Kauff journeys for Filipino fare to San Bruno, where he immerses himself in the stirring, authenticities of Patio Filipino, the likes of which he says can't be found in SF: "...there's quite a scene...Conversations that flicker between Tagalog and English...Waiters weave through the restaurant wielding elaborately garnished platters of fried milkfish and cast-iron plates that sputter and smoke...It's a comfortable, attractive, well-priced bistro that satisfies both first-generation palates and second-generation expectations of what a night out at a good restaurant entails." [SF Weekly]
THE ELSEWHERE: The PressDem gifts 2.5 stars to Flowering Tea House in Petaluma, the EBX gets serious with takeout from Summer Kitchen Bake Shop, the Merc has flashbacks for days after a transforming experience at Berkeley's Gather, Bar Bites drinks from Mason jars at the Mission's Heart, and then Bargain Bites wraps things up, grabbing some veggies on the run from Greens to Go, S.F.
[Photo: Flickr/library chan]