Monday, May 31, 2010

Fukuya, Filinvest, Alabang

Name: Fukuya
Location: Festival Mall, Filinvest, Alabang
Google Maps: Festival Mall
Must Know: Pay as you order, Budget-Japanese-Food
Must –try: Okonimiyaki Hiroshima (Japanese Pizza)
Date: May 29, 2010

I wasn't able to go to my planned restaurant, Ristra’s, in Green Hills, San Juan so I decided on reviewing this affordable Japanese restaurant in Filinvest, Alabang. We were about to do the grocery around 11AM but got hungry so we decided on something quick-and-easy.

Fukuya is this ‘fast-food’ type Japanese restaurant where you order in front and find a table at the back. I go to this place in particular for my favorite Japanese dish, the ‘Okonomiyaki or better known as Japanese Pizza.

Something to note, the place is not really something I would recommend for a date. Not unless you're with casual company and agreeable to something quick and snappy, you're better off finding another Japanese restaurant. However, this place won't hurt your wallet - it will only leave you happy getting a fix on that Japanese food craving.

First on the list is their Gyoza (PHP 90.00) or Japanese dumplings. This is served a bit fried to give it a golden crisp on the sides, but not completely. You would be a bit disappointed that the actual serving doesn't match the artificial display outside in their display-menu where the gyoza looks stuffier than the actual dish that is served. However, over-all their dumplings is good – typical as what you would expect.

Next on the menu is their Okonomiyaki Horishima (PHP 150.00) style, this is served with noodles as opposed to the other one where there is none. The dish is prepared with pancake batter, sprinkled with veggies, some jap-mayo, some sauce, and noodles. This is a vegetarian's delight. Note that this is not the best Okonomiyaki dish in the metro, however with a price tag like that; it certainly tops the thrift meter.

After a quick fix, total damage is only less than PHP 400.00. Can you believe that? It’ll be hard to find a more affordable quick-fix Japanese-joint than this.

Here’s the run down on the F.A.V.S. scorecard.

3 - Food Quality. Don’t expect it to taste like it was prepared by an authentic Japanese chef who takes pride in his work. However, this isn't bad for a call-of-nature-craving for some Asian cuisine.

3 – Ambiance is also not bad. Although this place is a pay-as-you-order establishment, the place is tidy and doesn't smell bad at all.

4.0 - Value for money is this place’s best trait. Japanese food cannot be this cheap, however, they have been doing it for a long time.

2.5 – Service was a bit poor that time. Our two dishes took about 25-minutes to be served. And although they cook the food as you order, it shouldn't take this long.

TOTAL = 12.5. Take note that I don’t advise bringing a date here, but this solves your cravings without hurting the budget.

Postponed: Ristra's Mexican Food

I wasn't able to visit Ristra's as planned. Will have to reschedule this one.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Army Navy, Filinvest, Alabang

Name: Army Navy
Location: Commerce, Filinvest, Alabang
Google Maps: The Commerce Center
Must Know: Pay as you order
Date: May 22, 2010

This joint is known for its burritos. Unfortunately, the night we were there was kind of like a slow night for them. They didn't have the Breakfast Burrito I wanted so we opted for ordering 2 Double "Bully Boy" Burgers (PHP 235.00) and 2 orders of their patented "LiberTea" (PHP 55.00) sweetened iced tea. Catchy right?

Their double-burgers are 2 patties quarter pound burgers - so you have a half-pound of meat in a serving right there.

Due to my current challenge of the bulge, I opted to keep mine plain, while my girlfriend opted to add some extra cheese (PHP 25.00) and bacon (PHP 25.00) on her burger. Yes, you have to pay for extra toppings. Otherwise, no-fuss burgers will consist of the regular lettuce, tomatoe and a bit of mayo I think. You can add some more mayo and ketchup to your liking with the squeezable dispensers found is most of the tables.
This place is similar to the other burger joints such as Hot Shots and Brothers Burger. What sets it apart, though, is that it serves other food like burritos and subs.

Sadly, the serving time was poor and it may have to do with the fact that they just recently opened. Our good burgers took about 10-15 minutes to be served. We also saw a couple of irate customers waiting for their orders to be served.

Okay, chow-time. Once the burgers arrived, we sank our teeth into them immediately. First bite lets you know how juicy the burgers are, not over cooked but just right that it doesn't splatter its juicy fat on the paper wrapper halfway when you're eating it. Taste was also good and so were the buns, which had black sesame seeds. I later found out through my girlfriend they're torched sesame seeds - weird because it doesn't make your bread taste any different, nor does it taste burnt. It's called a Kaiser bun. Over-all, the burger was GOOD. Had I been a little fitter this time I would've had the courage to order their triple-pattie burger, that's 3/4 of a pound. However, not now when the bulge is winning.

The iced tea is typical, I don't know why they called it different anyway.

Also, the place looked awefully like a "Yellow Cab" set-up, I would find out later that it is connected to the pizza joint beside it. Are they owned by the same person? I wouldn't know.

Over-all, I'd go back to this place for some good burgers! It's a real knock-out and I'd love to come back one day for their Triple "Bully Boy" Burger. I'd also like to try their subs too.

Here's how it ranked-up against the FAVS scorecard:

4 - Food Quality was good. The meat was juicy and the toppings are tasty.

3 - Ambiance since it didn't quite have its own feel, being beside Yellow Cab and all.

3 - Value for Money because its a bit pricey for burgers but still cheaper than a Chilli's burger.

2.5 - Service since they took really long but the staff was very pleasant anyway. It might be a case of
improper kitchen management.

No x-factor here.

TOTAL = 12.5. Good for a casual date, probably right before you bring her home.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mr. Kurosawa, Eastwood City

Name: Mr. Kurosawa
Location: Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City
Google Maps: Eastwood Mall
Must Know: 8% Service Charge. Wide array of food choices. I think this is owned by Marvin Agustin (a local celebrity)?
Date: May 21, 2010
Image courtesy of: Amrei Dizon

This was the 2nd restaurant we've critiqued and so far, we've been very lucky. To be honest, I was insisting on trying another restaurant because I've read a bad review of Mr. Kurosawa, but for the sake of fairness, I agreed to give this night to my girlfriend's choice.

First off for appetizer was Tofu Steak (PHP 248.00) and this one had a lot of ingredients such as thin slices of beef, green peas, and (probably shitake) sliced mushrooms. I tried eating the ingredients separately mainly because they weren't holding up together - and it didn't taste anything special. However, when I changed my style wherein I cut the tofu, which is served in rectangles, and put all the ingredients on top - the taste was very good. Not very different from a lot of establishments serving this type of dish but my girlfriend and I agreed the food preparation is excellent. Good way to start.

The next dish on the line-up is the Bushido Blade (PHP 238.00) which is an unagi sushi with other ingredients I forgot and dashed with some teryiaki sauce. I've only recently appreciated unagi (eel) so I specifically chose this. The service was excellent and when our server came in with the sushi, he then proceeded with pouring us our soy sauce in our small bowls. The dish was excellent and we did not even touch our soy sauces in finishing the entire dish. It had the perfect timing of coming after the appetizer to prepare our palates ready for the main dish.

Main dish was Salmon Wasabi Cream Sauce (PHP 338.00) and Shrimp Enoki Pizza (PHP 308.00) for that Neo-Japanese experience.

I like anything with Wasabi and this salmon dish was not bad at all. My first bite was misleading as I didn't taste any wasabi, however, the 2nd tasted much better. Again, very well prepared but my only comment was that the cream sauce could've been mixed better to make the taste consistent with a hint of wasabi.

The pizza was probably the best of that night and if we didn't order so much, we would've ordered 2 of that dish. Just to remind those who might not be aware of what enoki is, it's like small mushrooms which is often wrapped in beef in most Japanese restos. The combination of the shrimp with enoki, on top of melted mozzarella was just great. The taste simply fused-together melting in your mouth to give it that rich flavor.

My girlfriend was actually so thrilled of our experience that she requested a feedback form from our server. Moments later, the head wait (or manager) approached us apologizing that they just ran out of feedback forms. However, they valued customer feedback so much they gave us a piece of blank paper to freely write how we felt of the service. Obviously, my girlfriend was so thrilled she gave just right about the same critique I'm writing right now. When the manager received it, he was very appreciative and told us they had prepares some FREE DESSERT for us: banana split with three (3) scoops of ice cream. This was simply added points to an already excellent dining experience.

4.5 - Food Quality was excellent!

4.0 - Ambiance. Neo-Japanese theme but made you feel like in a club.

4.0 - Value for Money. The food is good but you'll have to pay for it.

5.0 - Service. Nothing beats those who value the customer's feedback.

+1.0 - X-factor for the excellent service and the free banana split.

TOTAL = 18.5 on our F.A.V.S. Scorecard

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Gustavian, Eastwood City

UPDATE: This establishment is closed already as of January 2011.

Name: The Gustavian
Location: Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City
Google Maps: Eastwood Mall
Must Know: Small restaurant with about 6-8 tables inside. Al fresco available.
Date: May 1, 2010
The very first restaurant we decided on reviewing.

Over at mass in Holy Family Chapel, I had this idea that we would review a restaurant every week, luckily, my girlfriend agreed - hence, this blog became the brainchild of that idea.I had read about The Gustavian from Rogue magazine so we decided to give it a try.

The Gustavian is this posh gourmet-type restaurant just at the edge of the new Eastwood mall. Its theme is like a Victorian design dining experience, and sort of has a relaxed atmosphere.

First up was the Salmon Gravlax for appetizer. This one was thin slices of salmon served with bread, some herbs and tomatoes. Refreshing - just enough to ready yourself for what's coming.

Main course was Chicken Fillet with Saffron Risotto and Beef Stroganoff.

The beef dish was served with rice and pretty much made up a very simple dish. The taste was excellent but it didn't really have any interesting characteristic except that the beef was nice and tender.

The chicken provided some surprise as upon serving, it looked very normal. However, once you bite into the chicken, the taste suddenly explodes as if it had been waiting for the very first bite. Its safe to say this chicken was marinated really well and every slice and each bite on the chicken had a consistent taste which was really good.

To sum it all up, I believe there's a need for us to come back here and try their other dishes. I know the place has something wonderful to offer and perhaps, a different serving and trying their cold cuts would best suit my dining experience at this place.

For now, here's how it went down.

4.0 - Food Quality. The chicken left a good impression and was probably the best for that night.
3.0 - Ambiance. The place had a nice feel about it but it didn't quite follow through as to why the place is called 'The Gustavian'.
4.0 - Value for Money. You get what you paid for,
5.0 - Service. They had excellent serving time even on a weekend.

TOTAL = 16 on our F.A.V.S. Scorecard. No x-factor to bum-up that score.