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Bauer Is a Fly Trap Fan; Roth Indulges at Trou Normand

[Photo: Fly Trap/Facebook]

Bauer is a fan of Hoss Zaré and the recent changes he's made at The Fly Trap (formerly Zare at Fly Trap), including an interior refresher that gives the space a "warm, traditional vibe." In this week's update review, he says more time spent in the kitchen means "you can see Zaré's exuberant personality on each plate." An "intriguing" Persian-influenced menu spans dishes like trout and bitter green salad, meatballs in pomegranate with red harissa and black cardamom-braised short ribs, all "as generous and bold as the man producing them." "While the Fly Trap can claim to be more than 100 years old, it feels fresh under Zaré," says Bauer, noting that "it's another example of a restaurant that has continued to honor history but change with the times." 2.5 stars. [Chron]

Anna Roth took a gander at new Bar Agricole spinoff Trou Normand, which is now serving "some of the best pork in the city, along with a long list of complex, nuanced cocktails to keep you eating more." It's got a "warmer, more welcoming space" than Bar Agricole's spare aesthetic and its "Euro-chic" art is a way to "convey the idea that you are sitting somewhere decadent." Roth was "rendered speechless" by a few of the charcuterie items, like the "lush, intense" ciccia, the "light despite its grease" finocchiona and the Tuscan salami "flecked with lardo like a checkerboard." The "spectacular" drinks are "heavy on citrus" and "richly layered with the ropy flavors of Armagnac, cognac, and Calvados," and Roth was transported by the chicken wings, "seared so they have a crust, but ... some of the softest wings I've ever encountered." But the MVP proved to be the "huge," "salty," "sweet" pork chop, "easily the best I've ever eaten." They have desserts, too, "but who needs sweets when there's more pork fat?" [SF Weekly]

Wendy Hector, meanwhile, paid a visit to Rhea's Café, the spinoff of Mission favorite Rhea's Deli. There, she found "much more than just a sandwich spot," saying "there's real cooking going on here and thoughtful care going into every big, flavorful dish." The burger is a "jaw-dropper," a "beautifully crafted creation strays just enough from classic to keep things interesting," and while the "towering, slaw-covered" buttermilk fried chicken sandwich "seems impossible to eat at first glance," "once smashed down to reasonable size, it becomes a satisfying handful." Though some dishes weren't standouts, a "solid" po'boy, "fiery chili-and-garlic" Korean steak sandwich and "mountainous" plate of fried chicken and waffles all satisfied. "I'm sure someday I'll make it to the original Rhea's," said Hector, "but the cafe will be a hard act to follow." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai explored the Italian stylings of Trabocco with this week's review, where the menu follows owner Giuseppe Naccarelli's native Abruzzo region. Though the Alameda South Shore Center "isn't the most picturesque setting," "luckily the restaurant's designers had the foresight to surround the patio with big planter boxes," and the ambiance makes it possible "to imagine you're sitting, if not in Italy, then at least at one of the fancier Italian restaurants in San Francisco or Napa Valley." Here, "the salt cod itself was a revelation," polipo e patate was "another stunner," and the Abruzzo-style pasta dishes were "quite delicious." Less successful was the braised pork belly and vegetable ragu and the "just okay" seafood stew. With a price point that's "only marginally less expensive than the East Bay's priciest Italian restaurants," this one won't be going into Tsai's regular rotation, but "despite the inclusion of a few unusual regional specialties, Trabocco is, above all else, accessible." [EBX]

Trou Normand

140 New Montgomery Street, , CA 94105 (415) 975-0876 Visit Website

Fly Trap

606 Folsom St., San Francisco CA