Sunday, November 28, 2010

Charlies Grind and Grill, Kapitolyo

Name: Charlies Grind and Grill
Location: #16 East Capitol, Kapitolyo
Google Maps: Charlies Grind and Grill
Date and time: October 16, 2010 9:15PM
Must Know: Pay as you order, no service charge.

Ordered from the menu:
  • Half Dozen Buffalo Wings Nuclear Php 170.00
  • Black Angus Burger with Fries Php 195.00
  • 2 Corona Beer with Lemon Php 270.00

The place (they say) used to be a hole in the wall, it spun off as restaurant on the side of a car wash. Now, the place is well lit, air conditioned and decorated so it really doesn't qualify as a hole-in-the-wall any more. Condiments, tissue stacks, utensils, a water refilling station suggests this place is a self service place, although waiters are on stand-by to clean-up when customers leave. Over-all, the place has become very comfy and has great ambiance. No doubt this place is doing a lot better than the car wash these days.

Corona Beers with Lemon (Php 135.00 each)

We got our Corona w/ Lemon Slices (Php 135.00 each) after ordering from the counter so we decided go ahead and take a swig while waiting for the rest of the food to arrive. The beer is excellent - served cold and with lemon as it should be for the price you're paying for imported beer.

After roughly 5-10 minutes of watching their flat screen and cracking some jokes, the rest of the order arrived in a fairly respectable amount of time.

Let's get this started!

Half Dozen Nuclear Buffalo Wings (Php 170.00)

The Half Dozen Nuclear Buffalo Wings (Php 170.00) is served with turnip & celery sticks with garlic cream sauce. Their serving is generous and you'll find that aside from wings, they also serve leg parts and other huge chicken slices. The turnip sticks was okay, but unless you're a hug fan of wild green tasting celery sticks, you're better off sticking with just the chicken wings. The garlic sauce is really tasty and you'll find that it doesn't take a huge amount of this sauce on your chicken to get the taste you need. - Going for the chicken wings itself, you'll notice that it is soaked in sauce and evidence of it is a puddle of hot sauce at the bottom of the basket. I thought this was something I could breeze through, I've had my fair share of spicy food, but I was wrong! Nuclear was true to the very sense that it did blow off my taste buds. But note that despite this being a "beer match" type of dish - the chicken is still great, it is tender and cooked just right. The first few bites, you'll taste everything just right. Although after a few pieces, the spicy flavor becomes overwhelming. I say this on a personal level, someone who can take much more heat can probably go through the whole dish without pause. By the time we were through with the chicken wings, I've downed my beer and a few glasses of water.

*A word of caution, if you have absolutely no "iron tongue" to get you through something this spicy, I'd suggest you stick with the regular chicken wings. Don't even be foolish to try their 'punyeta" sauce, I heard that's all you'll end up saying. =)

Off to the main course for the night, the Black Angus Burger (Php 195.00). This is what Charlie's is and what it's famous for so a trip here without trying this is a mortal gastronomic sin.

Black Angus Burger with Fries (Php 195.00)

The dish is served diner style, an open bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato slices, and potato fries. I prefer mayonnaise over ketchup for fries so I got a whole big-ass squeezable bottle for that. The fries are good and if it's artificial, I didn't notice at all. The texture wasn't grainy and the taste suggests it's genuine potato indeed. The black Angus was there staring at our faces as we tested the fries - sooner or later it would get its turn to be savored. After getting our fix of potatoes, we both grabbed our burgers and eyed each other as we opened our mouths to dig in - expecting something good was about to happen. And it did!

Let's rewind a little bit a few months back- The first time, I ate here was when my sister brought me. At that time, I left the place thinking it was "OK", nothing great. But over time, after trying many burgers of all types and sizes, you back track and realize that no other burger, in the country at least, tastes as tender, juicy, warm, moist, and meaty as Charlie's black Angus burger.

Let's go back again. Just like the usual burger, this one put-together will produce a thick fat burger that will require your mouth a little stretching if you want to get a bite of the good stuff from bun-to-bun. You'd be surprised how soft the bun is despite taking a good shape. The burger just parts like the red sea when you bite it and in the midst explodes all the flavor and tenderness of a black Angus beef. Add a little ketchup or mayo if you wish but I preferred my burger just as it is. No room for poise here ladies, if you really want to enjoy what you came here for. Don't even dare ask for a knife and fork, this is not Chilli's. This burger can get messy, messy but good. After about 5 minutes (my burger) and 10 minutes (her burger), we eye each other again with satisfaction.

Good job, Charlie!...whoever you are.

Here's your report card:

4.5 - Food quality is excellent. Had it not been for the celery sticks and the "this morning's" turnip sticks, it would been a 5.0.

3.5 - Ambiance is cool. Don't expect a red carpet, rather a car wash entrance. But once you get in, the place is great.

4.0 - Value for money is okay as well. It's certainly more pricey that most burgers, but hey, it's Angus.

3.5 - Service was great. Although this is a self-serve joint, the waiter will be more than happy to tell you where everything you need is.

Primo Penaranda
Sent from my iPhone

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