La Trappe (Belgian Cafe/Bistro) finally opening Tuesday
La Trappe, the new Belgian cafe in the old Buca Giovanni location in North Beach had a "soft" opening Saturday night and will formally open Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 5:00. It'll feature Belgian ales on tap and casual dining in the (street level) bar area, and a more formal menu downstairs in the dining room. It'll feature Belgian specialties like moules frites and also have rabbit on the menu as a tribute to its precdecessor. The frites, natch, will be available as a "side." Yum!
800 Greenwich St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Managed to complete my initial survey of the new Belgian triumvirate we're blessed with in the Bay Area by visiting La Trappe tonight. I didn't dine, having just gorged myself on dan-dan and chicken soup at Z & Y, but I'll have to return for the moules frites - they're the most interesting item on the menu (offered three ways) and nothing goes better with a Belgian ale.
No, I was here for the beer - and headed straight downstairs. Contrary to earlier reports the music was tasteful (Sonny Rollins) and played at a very reasonable level, so that I was able to carry on normal conversation with one of the owners, and a nice young French couple next to me. The cellar "Trappist Lounge" is suitably dark, decorated in stone and soft woods, and does a good job capturing the mood of a European beer cellar. As for the main event, I would rank this place on a par with The Trappist (and well ahead of Monk's Kettle) for the true Belgian beer geek. Outstanding selection - about a dozen on tap, and around a hundred more in bottle, including a number of seasonal Belgians and non-Belgian Euro offerings. All were priced more fairly than at MK, with very reasonable markups given the setting. While the tap list included what have become the usual suspects (Chimay White, Maredsous, etc.) there were a couple nice rarer options - Grimbergen, and a lovely white beer called Wittekerke that I hadn't had on tap and really loved.
I asked the owners at all three places if any of them had a theory on why - after an eternity of virtually no Belgian-themed bars, the Bay Area got three new ones within a month. None of them, as it happens, had any notion of the others' existence basically until they were open. In short, a coincidence - except, of course, that SF has been woefully underserved in the premium beer arena and three groups had a good idea at about the same time. All nice people, but the (British) owner/bartender at La Trappe was exceptionally convivial and gregarious. I'll be back to try the food, but I was more than pleased by the selection and pricing of the beers, and the passion and knowledge of the staff about same.
It was a pleasant surprise that there was ample parking in the area at 10pm on a Saturday night. Big plus. As we walked towards the restaurant, my out of town friend started to question about our new adventures as it was rather quiet and not a hint of European ambiance at the street level. As we walked down the spiral staircases, there was no more doubt. We found ourselves in a eurpoean cellar filled with lively and friendly people. It is a cozy place with plenty of seatings. in addition to the benches in the main room, there are sofa and armchairs with dimmer lightings at the back side of the room. The services was exceptional and nice crowd. One of the young servers helped us find a table quickly. Our neighbors helped us secured a beer menu from the bar. with over a 100 selections, it is more a dictionary. When the server came to take our order, she came with a glass of water for everyone. I do not think I ever been to any bar that would serve you water without asking!!! VERY much impressed. Another bonus point.
Sadly I had no luck in trying the Wittekerke. They ran out of a number of beers because of the busy weekend. I only hope people wont be deterred by that because the server was very knowledgeable and patient in helping us find the right beers.
Even though I am not a beer drinker, I definitely would go back again for a beer with burger and fries. Also saw many poeple having the chocolate torte.
Last round at 11:30pm but plenty of people staying past midnight.
Don't forget Luka's in Oakland. Great Pomme Frittes and food is wonderful. Good beer selection focused on Belgian's but with some great CA beers, like Green Flash, to take a uber hoppy break from the Belgian style. Crowded during happy hour, but easy enough to get into before 4 or after 8 midweek. Love all the Belgian venues. BUT nothing beats a trip to Brugge and Brussels, and then you're hooked.
Thanks for the heads up. Here's a soft link to the Place record which has the website address.
The menu also has Belgian Endive with pink grapefruit, avocado and Smoked Trout.
Who'd think Belgian endive actually had anything to do with Belgium cuisine.
Hmmmm ... Monkfish on a Bed of Candied Endive ... that's a new one ... candied endive ... sounds like what Jessica Seinfield would sneak onto her kid's plate.
They also mention they serve all natural grass-fed beef from Marin Sun Farms
Some of the Belgium beers on tap mentioned: La Chouffe, Piraat, Affligem and Kwak ... if that means anything to beer people. Also bottled Brugse Zot. One site said they will have 120+ beers with nine on tap.
Also will have breakfast stuff like Belgium waffles. Hmmm ... no Brussels sprouts yet?
re: Xiao Yang
More from tablehopper ...
" Trappe will be open for evenings to start, but eventually the plan is to be open continuously from 7am-10pm, and until midnight on the weekends. Breakfast, brunch, and lunch will be coming, with smoked meats, fish, crepes, and Belgian waffles on the brunch tip, and all-day pub grub like fish ‘n’ chips, curries, BIG burgers, sandwiches, and artisanal pizzas for lunch"
Interesting about one of the partner's Liguria Bakery connection.
They have a menu posted on the Greenwich St. door which includes the prices. Appetizers and Salads are $7-8, Soup something like $3.50/$5.50. and Mains $10-$23 (ranging from the Burger to the Monkfish on a bed of Candied Endive, with the moules frites in the high teens IIRC. Seems reasonable enough, especially since I, for one, won't care if it doesn't upstage the beer at a venue like this.