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I'm definitely no stranger to Vietnamese food so I had high hopes that Pagolac would serve up some authentic bo 7 mon (seven flavors of beef).  Its located somewhat deep in the Tenderloin's Little Saigon so I was a little surprised to find that I was the only Asian person eating in the whole restaurant all night.  I should have taken it as a sign to turn around as the food wasn't exactly what I had hoped for.

I love fish sauce, but even the fish sauce here was much too fishy and bitter tasting for me. 
Having had to forgo the my usual favorite dipping sauce for my spring rolls, I found the hot sauce to be a decent substitute.
7 flavors of beef - #89 on 2012 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
The first course of bo 7 mon is the bai tai chanh, which is the Vietnamese version of beef carpaccio.  Thin slices of rare beef are marinated with a lemon and onions and then topped with crushed peanuts and herbs.  I've had bo 7 mon before and the portion sizes here are even smaller than what I've ever seen.  The toppings overpowered this dish because the amount of meat was so scarce.

They do give a very generous portion of rice paper for wrapping up all the upcoming meats.  The hot water bowl is a little smaller than normal, but they did regularly change the bowl so the water was always boiling hot to soften the rice paper.
The vegetables for bo 7 mon here include marinated radish, carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, lettuce, mint, and basil.  The vegetables are refilled here as you eat through the courses.

Bo nhung dam starts off the first cook it yourself portion of the meal.  You cook the plate of thin sliced rare beef  into the vinegar and onion fondue.
The onion flavored vinegar gives the meat a little sour and pungent flavor.  You use the rice paper and vegetables and meat to wrap up your spring rolls.  The biggest grip of the night was the rice paper.  Usually the problem with most rice papers is that they are too thin and rip easily, but here the rice papers don't stick!  The whole meal was a total frustration on wrapping the rolls and then having everything slide out.  It ruined the whole experience.
The second cook it yourself portion is the bo nuong vi.  Similar thinly sliced beef are now marinated for you to grill at your table.
The meat is really thin so it only needs to be cooked for a very short amount of time, maybe in total a little over a minute.  Another gripe about this place is the grill isn't oiled enough so the meat sticks and you end up practically scraping it off the grill.  I'm already not a good spring roll wrapper, but at this point in my meal I felt like giving up on attempting to wrap up anything.  The wrapper just slips around and makes you feel like an idiot as you attempt to wrap. 
Course 4, 5,6 was all served on this one plate to wrap with the vegetables and rice paper.  Bo la lot - grilled beef sausages wrapped in wild pepper leaves on a skewer.  Bo cuon mo - grilled beef wrapped over scallions on a skewer.  Bo lui - grilled marinated bbq beef skewers.  The bo lui came out dry and tough with barely and meat.  It was so dry that it was hard to take the meat off the stick. 
The last course was the chao bo, which is a Vietnamese rice porridge with minced beef, green onions, and cilantro.  The porridge is much more watery version of the thick Chinese porridge I'm used to, but this was still probably my favorite course of the meal.  It reminds me of a similar Chinese porridge with green onions and minced beef that my parents would make in the winter, but definitely not as good.  They offer a shaker of white pepper, which I generously added.
So overall this place was a huge disappointment, especially having just come back from LA.  I'm not sure why people rave about this place, between the rice paper wrappers that make me feel like a failure ate eating and the scant portions, I think I prefer Anh Hong (stay tuned for that review).

Address:                  Pagolac
                                 655 Larkin St.
                                 San Francisco, CA 
Type:                        Vietnamese

Popular chomps:       7 courses of beef      

Chomp worthy:          nothing     

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