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Adobo Connection


First thing to expect? Lines.

Today we check out a new restaurant that’s been making a big buzz recently, and has gathered quite a following on Facebook. The Adobo Connection recently had its soft opening in One Archer’s Place, and we’re here to see if it really lives up to the hype.

Dishes Ordered

  • Classic Pork Adobo – P99
  • Macaroni Soup – P19
  • Adobo Flakes – P49
  • Adobo Fried Siopao – P49

The Restaurant

Two mounds of tasty

Like all eating establishments in One Archer’s, Adobo Connection boasts a spotless and well-designed interior. With seating for a maximum of about 80, they are able to fully maximize their real estate. The furniture consists of mostly wooden chairs and tables, and brick and marble walls, giving the whole restaurant a cozy, suburban feel. It adds a little urban to its design with nice lighting fixtures and a TV running music videos for ambience. All in all, it’s a very nice place to sit and eat for awhile, even with the serpentine lines and massive crowds.

The Food

Two mounds of mainstream

After being impressed by the stunning restaurant design, the next thing I encountered was the food. Being of limited funds, I had to resort to only one full meal, the classic pork adobo, and three small sides.

Classic Pork Adobo is the cornerstone and flagship dish of Adobo Connection, which features two pieces of pork adobo with a cup of white rice. My verdict? Meh. It was a mainstream dish, one that I could find at any other side canteen in the country. Heck, my mom makes a better adobo. It’s not that it was bad, but that it was overly praised by all recounts I had heard.

Bargain dining at its finest

Next in the lineup was the macaroni soup, which consists of a bowl of chicken broth mixed in with macaroni noodles and chopped vegetables. At P19, I wasn’t expecting much. But for an add-on, it’s not bad. Value-wise, it ranks off the charts, and taste-wise, it was exactly what you would expect from a macaroni soup. It tasted a bit like it came from a can, but at least it came from a brand that I probably like, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Golden-Brown Not-so-delicious

Third came the adobo fried siopao. In a phrase, “I wouldn’t recommend it”. The serving size isn’t the problem; each of the three golden orbs of fried dough and adobo are just the right size, which is about three-quarters of the palm of my hand. My issue was with the taste. When I get adobo, I expect something that screams soy and vinegar, which is a nice meaty flavor. Instead, the shell of the siopao is sweet, and the insides taste more like asado, with a sauce reminiscent of the sweet barbecue types. If you’re looking for a fried treat, this fits the bill appearance-wise, but don’t expect to have those expectations met once you bite into it.

Best thing on the menu

The last dish (which arrived after about eight minutes, well above average) that arrived were the adobo flakes. Now if you do ever go to the Adobo Connection for lunch, this is what you should be ordering. Adobo flakes is two cups of adobo fried rice topped with scrambled egg bits and crispy adobo tidbits. It was hands down the best item on my order list, mixing the strong savory taste of the flakes with the subtle sweet-and-sour of the rice. At P49, this is a steal, and should be on your receipts.

The interior is terrific. The food…

If there is something that really stood out in Adobo Connection, it’s the speed of service and price of the food. None of my meals went over P100, but I didn’t feel like there was something missing afterwards. And given how quickly the food gets to you (two to three minutes a dish), you’d still have time to find another place to eat before your break ends!

Adobo Connection has the game down in terms of speed and price. If they can find a way to perfect the taste of everything, then they’d be set for a long run of success.

The Verdict

Restaurant: Even with the crowds, Adobo Connection’s restaurant design allows you to have a comfortable and fun eating experience.  Rating for the restaurant: 9/10.

Food: The food at Adobo Connection is good, but it also tastes like something I could make just as easily at home. However, it is served lightning-quick at an affordable price, which at least gives the pedestrian food a speed boost.  Rating for the food: 7/10.

Staff: Maybe this is a bit unfair, since this is a soft opening, but the staff at Adobo Connection really made it feel like a soft opening. They seemed rushed, confused, and didn’t really give you that “service-with-a-smile”. “Service-with-a-smile” is really important to me. Rating for the staff: 6/10.

Overall: 7/10.

For a restaurant with such a huge fanbase, I think I may have failed to see what all the hype was. I had plenty of ups about this trip, but also plenty of downs to accompany them. Although the restaurant was a very new and welcome experience, the food didn’t match up as much as I would’ve hoped. It was inexpensive and fast, but nothing out of the ordinary, which didn’t do justice to the great interior. Add in a sub-par waitstaff and you get an average score. It’ll be interesting to see how they do when they have their full opening, though, and I’ll make sure I go and see if they can remedy these faults.

 

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Meets expectations. That is all.

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Jus and Jerry’s Food Co.: Good Value, Great Chicken!


If that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is.

Move over Manang’s and Bon Chon Chicken, there’s a new (and old) “extra-crispy” in town! Jus and Jerry’s Food Co., a Chinese fast food restaurant in EGI Taft Tower, reopened to the public last week after renovating and recreating themselves, and they have come back with a bang! From a small, less-than-appealing looking restaurant that seems to get lost in the shouting contest of the DLSU food service war, Jus and Jerry’s has transformed into an eye-catching and trendy hot spot in De La Salle University.

Dishes Ordered

  • 1-Piece Fried Chicken (with drink) – P95
  • Milk Tea – P1
  • Chicken Pao- P85
  • Fish Ball Noodles Soup – P90
  • 4-Piece Shark’s Fin Siomai – P35

The Restaurant

The restaurant is split into three main sections: an inner section, smoking area, and second floor. The inner section consists of twelve seats; these include two 4-tops and one bench. The smoking area outside seats up to sixteen with one 4-top and two 6-tops. The upstairs is the best of the three sections, seating up to fifty six with six 6-tops and five 4-tops. This sets a grand total of about 84 seats, the most I’ve ever counted in a restaurant here in Taft.

If I described the restaurant in a phrase, it would have to be “Level Up”. Although I had never been in the previous one, I am pretty sure that I never really wanted to either. This time around, however, Jus and Jerry’s has managed to recreate itself successfully, and has the look of a potential top-quality food chain.

If Tokyo Tokyo and McDonald’s had a baby on steroids, this would be it.

The first thing I noticed about the place was that it’s surprisingly spacious. During its renovation, J&J’s absorbed a few of its neighbors into their real estate, including the Archer’s Hole, and have maximized on this newly acquired land. Upon walking into the restaurant, you can feel the very sleek and modern design that they put into it. Similar to a McDonald’s, Jus and Jerry’s has a fast-food style ordering counter surrounded by comfortable chairs and spacious tables. The furniture follows the red and black of the logo, and is very pleasing to the eyes.

Jus and Jerry’s co-owner is happy owner.

Aside from the aesthetics, the restaurant is also spotless. Granted, I did visit on a Saturday, but it was still very well-kept. It will be interesting to see how well that’s maintained. Air conditioning is very good also, although some are built a little too close to the chairs, and start to drip after a while. Wi-Fi has yet to be set up, but should be there soon, according to the manager. I would usually poo-poo on that statement, but since they just reopened, I’ll let it pass.

Lastly, their lighting is very nice, as they are directed on the table like spotlights, making their food the star of the show.

The Food

This is the future of chicken in DLSU.

As a Chinese fast food restaurant, Jus and Jerry’s menu ranges from sweet and sour pork to buchi balls to milk tea. However, their main event meal is their signature Fried Chicken. This chicken runs in the same family as the Bon Chon or Manang’s style: extra crispy with a chinese-stye sauce. They have two options for the sauce: soy garlic and spicy ginger. You can’t go wrong with either. The soy garlic is very savory, and goes perfectly with rice. The spicy ginger seems like something that can stand alone better, and has a strong ginger taste that isn’t unpleasant the way many ginger dishes are. Compared to Bon Chon and Manang’s, the chicken at J&J’s has a superior price and, although I would need to try them side by side to make sure, a superior flavor.

The most incredible thing in the world.

Aside from selling their chicken per piece with rice, J&J’s also sandwichizes. The unique thing about their sandwich: the bread is siopao! The chicken pao sandwich is the best chicken sandwich I’ve had in Taft, and could possibly be the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had. Jus and Jerry’s puts a healthy serving of their signature fried chicken into a large siopao bun with some lettuce and mayo as an accompaniment. The crisp and juicy chicken’s texture is accentuated with the soft bun, and the taste is phenomenal. In terms of size, it could span the palm of your hand easily. This is the meal that I will come back to Jus and Jerry’s for every single time.

If you could eat for two, this could be for you.

The last remaining menu entries, the fried shark’s fin and fish ball noodle soup, are nothing out of the ordinary. The shark’s fin is crispy and hot, and the noodle soup is the standard mami that you’ll find in most traditional restaurants. However, they are both quite big, which is a nice selling point for them. The noodles are particularly large, and could easily feed two people. If you’re looking for traditional Chinese fair at a good price, then these would fit your bill perfectly.

Milk Tea: P2. The feeling of buying Milk Tea for P2: Priceless.

In celebration of their reopening, J&J’s has a special deal on their Milk Tea. No, that wasn’t a typo when I put Milk Tea at P1. Whenever you purchase a meal with a drink, you simply add P1 to it and you can get a regular-size Milk Tea! Their options include Taro, Hong Kong style, and Traditional Boba. I got the Taro, my favorite flavor, and was happy with it. It comes with custard and isn’t too thin, a common fault in some lesser Taro teas. The other flavor I tried was the Traditional, which had a caramel taste mixed with coffee jelly. It’s a standard milk tea, made incredible at a P1 price tag 🙂

The Verdict

Restaurant: Metropolitan design. Spacious. Comfortable temperature. Impeccably clean. Smoking area. Wi-Fi. What else are you looking for in a restaurant? Rating for the restaurant: 9/10.

Now you can’t say you didn’t see it.

Food: With what could be the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, I could stop this review right here and give a terrific score. But that’s not all Jus and Jerry’s has in their repertoire, and I’m not complaining about that either. Their fried chicken rivals Bon Chon and Manang’s, the two top franchises in Taft, and could even be superior. Their other Chinese fare is standard, but is still able to impress my taste buds. If you’re looking for good eats at a good price, then this is the place for you. The only downside is a bit of a wait for your meal, between 10 to 20 minutes. For that Chicken Pao, though, I’d say that’s a small price to pay.  Rating for the food: 9/10.

Staff: The staff at Jus and Jerry’s was very welcoming and provided service with a smile. One of the co-owners was in as well, and managed the place effortlessly. Although they did get a few orders wrong, I never felt like I was being rushed or mistreated. Very accommodating staff. Rating for the staff: 8/10.

Overall: 9/10.

NOMG

Instead of a little descriptive spiel that’s usually at the end of the review, I would like to suggest something instead.

TRY THIS PLACE NOW!

With the best chicken sandwich in Taft and P1 Milk Tea until July 4, 2012, this is the place to be! If you’re reading this today, July 2, you should be heading here for lunch or dinner. Bring your friends and order a lot. You will not regret it. Trust me 🙂

You can find out more about Jus and Jerry’s on their Facebook Page, where they post promotions, updates, and complete menus. While you’re there, check out Extra Rice too, on our Facebook and Twitter! Remember, every follow and share helps us bring you a better blog!

Heaven in a bun.

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Daily Dish! #2: Katsudon at Mashitta


A magazine-quality picture.

Mashitta is a newly-opened Japanese-Korean hybrid restaurant located on the second floor of the University Mall. They specialize in popular Korean food favorites, like Bibimbap and Jap Chae, as well as Japanese culinary mainstays, like Ramen and Sushi. The average price for a meal at Mashitta is about P110, but the servings, especially soups, can easily serve two moderately hungry individuals. Today, however, we take a look at one of Mashitta’s Japanese rice meals, which is one of the most popular Japanese combos in the Philippines: Katsudon.

Perfectly cooked pork.

Katsudon generally consists of a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet, known as Tonkatsu, an egg, and some form of sauce. As you can see in the slideshow, all of the elements are present in Mashitta’s take on the dish, with a sprinkle of sauteed vegetables on the side. The vegetables are done well; they are crisp, fresh, and taste like vegetables. That may be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. The sauce is sweet-and-sour, and very flavorful, accompanying the rice just as well as the Tonkatsu. However, I was slightly disappointed with the hint of egg that seemed to drown helplessly in the sauce, as opposed to sucking it up and standing out. A powerful presence of egg in Katsudon usually takes the dish up a level in flavor and texture range. Still, Mashitta was able to make up for the want of egg with a perfectly done Tonkatsu. The pork was coated all over in what looked to be a panko crust, which helped protect the pork from drying out as it cooked, and was perfectly crispy the entire time I ate it, even as it soaked up the sauce. This is something that’s generally difficult to accomplish, and was the deciding factor as to my opinion on the dish. The opinion: Nom nom nom.

The Verdict

Price – P105. With the elevated price levels at the University Mall, I’d say this is a very reasonable amount to pay for a tasty bowl of katsudon. The free iced tea really makes the value here.

Taste – Although it doesn’t necessarily match the Katsudon that the more established Japanese restaurants in the Philippines would serve, it doesn’t fail to satisfy either. The slightly less eggy katsudon sauce is a bit of a downer, but the extra crispy pork strips definitely make this meal worth trying.

Katsudon at Mashitta – MUST TRY!

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Introducing the Daily Dish! #1: Chap Chae at Bon Chon Chicken


AAAaaaaand we’re back! With a new type of review too!

Due to the clear and ever-present danger that is schoolwork, we at Extra Rice have come to realize that making the long, winding reviews that we love to do will not be possible on a regular basis. That being said, we will still try to do full-scale restaurant reviews about once or twice a month.

To compensate for that loss, however, and since we wanted to get back to writing so badly, we are introducing a new, more regular review theme: The Daily Dish!

The Daily Dish will work as follows:

  • It will not be daily! It’ll just come about more often 🙂
  • One dish from one restaurant will be reviewed.
  • Only the value and flavor of the dish will be judged.
  • No restaurant features will come in play.
  • The review will be as short as possible (quite the challenge, but we’re ready 🙂 )
  • Using the “Like” style of voting for a final grade.
  • It’s either TRY IT or DIET!

So, without further ado, let’s get on with our first Daily Dish!

Chap Chae @ Bon Chon Chicken

Bon Chon Chicken is a Korean-inspired restaurant known for it’s extra crispy, double deep-fried chicken and their unique soy garlic wing sauce. However, one of their dark horses on the menu is the Chap Chae, a traditional Korean noodle dish. It is not one of the highly promoted menu items that you would see on their overhead, but to the budget-minded eater, it can easily be spotted. That’s because it’s one of the (if not THE) cheapest items on the entire menu, and it definitely gives you a bang for your buck.

Chap Chae generally consists of dark, glassy rice noodles mixed with thinly sliced vegetables, scrambled egg slices and sesame seeds, and is finished off with a generous drizzle of sesame oil. If that is the exact definition that a Korean would have for Chap Chae, then Bon Chon does it spot on. The noodles give an incredibly smooth mouth feel, and are the perfect al dente that you would demand from a high-quality Italian pasta. The vegetables are thin, but lend a nice, slightly crunchy variation to each chew. The egg gets a bit lost in the fray, but it’s an egg, and I’m not expecting miracles. And the sesame seeds and oil are just the right amount and top the dish better than anything I could think of. It’s like the olive oil and Parmesan cheese that would garnish the previously mentioned Italian pasta. It is probably the best Chap Chae I’ve ever had, and possibly even one of the top noodle dishes as well. A definite taste treat.

The Verdict

Price – P75. I think I might jinx it by saying it’s priced too low, but this is definitely a steal, especially among the other Bon Chon favorites.

Taste – Read above paragraph. Repeat.

Chap Chae at Bon Chon Chicken – MUST TRY!

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Ming’s Tapsilogan: Budget Crisis!


Enter if you dare.

Today was supposed to be the long-awaited (at least by me) venture into Gravy Fix, at the heart of the Burgundy Tower. However, due to a lack of support from my financially-behind friends, I was forced to look for a less frilly establishment that would be easier on  the wallet. Boy, did I find it. Today’s restaurant on the chopping block is Ming’s Tapsilogan, the carinderia located across the street from the back entrance of Burgundy Tower. I’ll admit, I did not have high hopes coming into this. Let’s see how it plays out.

Dishes Ordered

  • Sinigang – P35
  • Tapsilog – P50
  • Tortang Talong- P20
  • Isaw/Tenga – P5

The Restaurant

Featuring the model in yellow

If I could sum up my experience at Ming’s in a phrase, it would be: “You get what you paid for”. The restaurant attempts to embody a street-side canteen environment, most probably out of necessity, and passes that test with flying colors. Unfortunately, that’s not really a good thing. The entire area was exceedingly dark, save for the few tables out in the scorching sun. The tables and chairs were rickety, unstable, and uncomfortably arranged, robbing you of precious personal space. And don’t even ask about Wi-Fi. No aircon and little ventilation was detectable, a problem which was compounded by the excessive amount of smoke that poured into the area.

The restaurant... lengthwise

This influx of smoke came from the grill outside, which was run by the most frightening person I’ve ever come in contact with while writing for Extra Rice. He was a frightening character, the type who looked like he might hurt me, and already disliked me to begin with. His aura, combined with the aura of the restaurant, definitely did not portray a room that would make me want to eat. At this point, I was praying to get started with the food and get out of there as quickly as possible.

The Food

It's blurry cause I was running away from the scary man

Ming’s provides several ways in which you can order your food: 1) From the grill, 2) From the precooked items, and 3) From the a la minute section. To be fair, we ordered from all three.

From the grill, I got a stick of isaw (intestine) and a stick of tenga (ear). Both of them are dipped in a sweet marinade before grilling, and are dipped in a spicy vinegar before consumption. At P5 a stick, this is one to look out for; it has nice contrasting flavors, and is not overly hard or chewy. If you can interact with the grill man without getting scared, I recommend you stick to this area.

It kind of looks like bangus

From the precooked items, I tried a bowl of sinigang and a tortang talong. The sinigang was a reasonable serving of beans and radishes in a well-seasoned soup, with a bit of pork thrown in. It’s the standard sinigang, and complemented the rice very well. The tortang talong, on the other hand, wasn’t as successful. It was about a fist-sized serving of eggplant, and wasn’t the ripest eggplant either. It was slightly bitter, and not very crispy, but was good when drowned in banana ketchup. Both orders, however, were quite cold, as they had come from the precooked menu, which is a euphemism for “old”.

Healthy eating, not bad

Lastly, from the a la minute menu, I ordered their namesake tapsilog. First of all, the egg was probably one of the smallest chicken eggs I had ever seen, but was cooked to just at the point between runny and hard, which is perfect for me. The tapa is slightly tough, but chewy in a good way, and had a pretty good flavor to it. Overall, this was not as good as the grill food, but much better than ordering from the display. If you plan to sit down at Ming’s, go for the hot menu.

Tiniest egg ever

The plates the food were served on were minuscule, but the serving time was less than 5 minutes on the grill and short order, and less than a minute from the precooked items. All in all, it was tolerable. Not much more.

The Verdict

Restaurant: The reason I ate here was because I had friends who were on a budget. However, being caught eating here seems to imply that I’m going under a bit more than a budget crisis. Smokey environment, lack of ventilation or light, and unstable furniture make this literal “hole in the wall” a two thumbs down. Rating for the restaurant: 3/10.

In a word: Floppy

Food: If there is any reason at all that you would want to go to Ming’s, aside from trying to save, it would be to get some fairly good eats. The servings may not be fit for most, but they are inexpensive, and are passable in the taste department. If you are coming from a drinking session, this would be pretty gourmet. Just make sure you get it to go. Rating for the food: 5/10.

Staff: The staff at Ming’s was a mixed bag. On one hand, there were nice ladies behind the counter who seemed to be under a lot of pressure, but were more pleasant than expected. On the other hand, the men (especially the one at the grill) made me feel slightly worried for my safety. Unpleasant would be a definite understatement. Rating for the staff: 4/10.

Overall: 4/10.

If you’re on a budget, I’m sure there are plenty of places you could go, order a smaller meal, and be perfectly happy. However, if you are looking for the same serving sizes you get in the cafeterias at school at a discount, and you have no standards as to what you expect when going to a restaurant, eat at Ming’s. I would recommend this to the extremely budget-minded, and the drunk. That’s about it. Just remember: this is my lowest rating so far for a reason.

Ming’s may not a have a website or any online presence (not surprising), but you can find out more about Extra Rice instead, on our Facebook and Twitter! Remember, every follow and share helps us bring you a better blog!

Zoom level: Extreme

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Tori Box: A new breed of Fried Chicken


Eat here while the crowds are still like this.

Don't blame me, that's Google Maps.

Just adorable. Very Japanese-y

This post is a monumental milestone in the history of Extra Rice: it’s our first soft opening! Today, I was lucky enough to find Tori Box, a Japanese-themed “Cutlet Specialist” establishment, located on the second floor of the One Archer’s Building, right next to Manang’s Chicken. With a slick interior and a promising menu, I was excited to see what my first newborn establishment had in store for me 🙂

Dishes Ordered

  • Chips Trio – P65
  • Karaage and Rice – P95
  • Karaage and Fries – P75
  • Rice – P20

The Restaurant

Tori stands for chicken in Nihongo, I just remembered. Cute.

As one of the newest buildings being raised in Taft Ave., One Archer’s has had the privilege of starting new with all of their eating establishments, who have all risen to the occasion and produced some wonderful restaurant designs. Tori Box is no different. Their quiet and cozy room contains about 8 four-top tables, providing seating for 30 people comfortably. Not surprisingly, the restaurant is spotless, and is given a relaxed ambience with a mix of chalkboard writings and glass or poster text on the walls. It is a metro design that feels like a modern Japanese restaurant. It is given an enlarged feeling with the intelligent use and placement of mirrors, and is just a comfortable place to be.

A sign of good things to come.

Although I loved what I saw from Tori Box in terms of their interior design, it’ll be interesting to see if they are able to maintain their strong start when the inevitable influx of students kicks in.

The Food

Hoping for expansion pack soon!

As it is a soft opening, Tori Box has a small menu that focuses on Chicken Karaage with a combination of side dishes. Among the choices were Mojos, Fries, Chips, and Rice. They also serve five different kinds of flavor powders with it, similar to Potato Corner’s style of flavoring fries. The flavor choices include BBQ, Sour Cream, Chili Pepper, Nori, and Italian Cheese. We went with all the sides and the Sour Cream, Chili Pepper, and Italian Cheese. Although I should say that Nori is a fascinating one, and I should be sure to try that one next time.

Small Rice. Extra Rice. Expensive Rice.

If you have ever had seasoned fries, imagine the deliciously salty satisfying experience that comes from the powder that is shaken and sprinkled on top. Now imagine that on crispy and juicy fried chicken nuggets. That’s about the best I can do to describe Tori Box’s flavored Karaage. It is a fantastically hedonistic experience that tops any Fun Shots or Hot Shots I’ve ever had.

Now that's what I call "MO"Jos! Kekeke.

Nom. Nom. Nom. Potato Three-way

Next to the awesome chicken is the sides, which range from potato to rice. That may not sound like a great start, but trust me, it gets better. The mojos are thick discs of deep fried potato that have a crispy exterior that masks a tender, sink-your-teeth-into potato heaven. The fries range in thickness, from the log-like cuts that seem like lengthwise mojos, to the money fries that are thin, crisp, and packed with flavor. Last of the potato sides are the chips, which are surprisingly well done for the homemade variety. All in all, the potatoes are packed, both with flavor and win. The rice, however, is probably the only downfall of Tori Box at this point. It is a minuscule serving of grains, and costs a whopping P20 to add another minuscule serving of grains. Still, it’s only one misstep in their journey of greatness, so I’ll let it slide.

Nom. Nom. Nom. Potato Three-way

On top of all of the flavor and fun, Tori Box also has a very creative way of presenting their food. They serve their non-rice meals in the most adorable paper bag with a long barbecue skewer, giving you quick food to go without having to get your hands messy. It is an extremely simple, yet ingenious design. How fitting for a Japanese restaurant.

Oh yeah, it comes with Gravy. There it is.

All in all, I have literally nothing so far that I didn’t enjoy putting in my mouth at Tori Box, both in terms of flavor and texture. They are also fairly priced, with none of the meals going over P100 as of yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if I made this my regular hangout over the next few weeks. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I couldn’t hang out there anymore because so many other people have decided to do so as well. My advice: eat here early, and get it while it’s new 🙂

The Verdict

Just the cutest packaging in Taft Ave.

Restaurant: Very good. They have a knack for making 30 people comfortable in a small space, and take their limited size in stride, making it feel relaxed and pleasant rather than packing students in. I am very happy with the furniture, as everything seems to complement something else. Rating for the restaurant: 8.5/10.

Food: I can’t yet make a very informed decision, as the menu that was made available to me for this trip was quite limited. However, the taste that I was fortunate enough to get was a real eye-opener. It may not taste like the karaage that I’m used to in other Japanese restaurants, but the presentation and flavor range that Tori Box provides is outstanding. Rating for the food: 8/10.

Staff: I recently took out our staff rating because I felt that it was getting a bit stale to talk about the same experience over and over. Tori Box, however, tell a different story of their manpower. The staff are pleasant, well-mannered, and happy to work. Let’s hope they can keep it up for the foreseeable future. Rating for the staff: 8/10.

Overall: 8.5/10.

I know you want me.

It may look like mold, but at least it's delicious mold.

They may just have opened, but Tori Box certainly knows how to impress right off the bat. I assume this will be one of the hot spots to eat in Taft by the end of this week or the next, and on the lips of all those who want to be the first to brag about trying a great new eatery in La Salle. Even for a soft opening, I was greatly impressed with what Tori Box has shown, and I will certainly be back for another review, once their tonkatsu and other menu items are operating at full force. Also, since it is located right next to Manang’s in One Archer’s, it will be interesting to see how the two stack up.

For those who want deliciously flavored crunchy chicken and fried potatoes any which way, Tori Box is the place to be. When their menu expands, who knows? They may just become a new standard for fried deliciousness in DLSU Taft. They don’t have any website or Facebook exposure as of yet, but when you get there, tell them Extra Rice sent you!

If you’re enjoyed what you read here, help us out and give it a rating, and then spread it! You can also find out more about us on our Facebook and Twitter. Remember, every follow and share helps us bring you a better blog! Stay Hungry!

The new fried chicken in town.

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Raps: Steaks, Cakes, and Gravy Shakes


Why is it always the animal promoting himself?

If you want Sex, it's right outside. If you know what I mean.

Thanks to several recommendations through our suggestion page and a direct request Tweet from @witchcody, a loyal follower of the blog, I found my way to Rap’s Steaks and Cakes, a popular steakhouse in Taft that can be found along the street that connects Leon Guinto and Taft Ave. I don’t know the exact name of the street, but it’s across from the Velasco Gate. If that’s not enough, check out the map 🙂 I’ll be using this feature more from now on.

Anyways, onward, to Rap’s!

Dishes Ordered

  • T-Bone Regular – P149
  • Korean Beef – P138
  • Garlic Chicken – P125
  • Oreo Cheesecake – P58

The Restaurant

I got too nervous to snap a shot inside. But look, a grill.

Before even entering the restaurant, the smell of steaks is inescapable, as their grill is strategically placed at the outside of the restaurant. Next to the grill are a few tables and chairs, most likely for those who either like being covered with grill smoke, or have no available seats inside. We soon found out that we would almost be the latter.

Pork Propoganda. In a steakhouse?

Rap’s has about 20 tables that can seat up to 60 at a time, but even then, Rap’s was at risk of full capacity, almost leaving us with the last resort of *gasp* sitting outside. Fortunately, we were able to squeeze in and find seats for the group, which, unfortunately, resulted in us sharing a table with other diners. No bueno, at least from a critic’s standpoint. Small moves like asking us to share tables makes a restaurant look more like a mess hall.

This is my high-quality capture now.

Aside from that slight service mishap, the restaurant is a very busy atmosphere. It is crowded and not the cleanest environment, and the menus are in a small state of disrepair. However, the smell of steaks wafts inside the area without the smoke, so it’s a pleasant olfactory experience.

All in all, the restaurant could use plenty of sprucing up and better space management. However, if they have been able to keep the real estate so crowded and the restaurant so dull, the food must be worth it. Let’s find out.

The Food

Works just as well on ice cream.

For such a big group, I’m ashamed to say that many of us went for their famous steak. Next time, we’ll branch out a little bit more 🙂 Still, I think that everybody who ordered the steak made a good choice. The steak is about 1.5cm thick, and comes with a thick bone through it (the porterhouse was out of stock, so we all had T-bones). While the staff does ask how you would like it done (well, medium, rare, etc), it all turns out the same, which is about medium well. In a thick-cut steakhouse, this would be crucial, but given the thickness of the steaks, it’s difficult to tell the difference. The steak is well-flavored from the grill, and juicy down to the bone. There are not many steak joints in the Taft area, but I think that Rap’s is definitely high on that list.

They should rename it to Corned Beef Tapa. Delicious.

To help wash down that steak, Rap’s provides us with two condiments: Worcestershire Sauce, and one of the most notorious gravies in the whole of Taft. Each table is provided with an entire pitcher of gravy, which was empty by the time we had completed the meal. It is not a very flavorful gravy; in fact, it tastes like too much butter and flour were used over the meat flavoring, and tastes slightly like an undercooked white sauce. Still, with such a quantitative amount of condiment available at our whim free of charge, our group maximized the gravy to the point where others might have thought we were drinking it (hence the “gravy shakes” in the title).

Not garlicky, but a bargain at Rap's.

Aside from the steaks, we ordered two popular rice bowls in Rap’s: the garlic chicken  and the korean beef. The garlic chicken serves creamy rice and small tender cuts of chicken that lack a garlic taste, but are still flavorful and satisfying. The korean beef, on the other hand, is a general winner for me, as it tastes like corned beef, tapa, and teriyaki all in one dish. Tender strips of fall-apart beef with sesame seeds are served on a sea of white rice. You hungry yet :)?

Macro Steak. That is all.

Once we had gotten through the main courses, we proceeded to Rap’s popular desserts, and ordered their franchise favorite: the Oreo Cheesecake. This is the most popular cake that Rap’s serves, and I was excited to see if it could live up to its expectations.

Looks can be deceiving.

The first thing I’ll say is that you shouldn’t serve a dish with utensils that are bigger than it. The cake is a pitiful portion, especially for P57 a slice, and was not a good start from a critic’s perspective. I guess it was for the best that the cake was small, though, because it tasted pretty awful. It was like I was eating a block of cheese, with an imperceptible amount of cookie crumbs that didn’t even taste like Oreos. Very disappointing.

Since 2006. That's how old the cakes taste.

When you go to Rap’s, expect to wait. On average, the meals that we ordered took between 15-20 minutes to arrive, with a final time of 25 minutes for our last order. Fortunately, your wait will be rewarded, as the food, overall, is delicious. I suggest you hold off dessert, though, and stick with the steaks, not the cakes.

The Verdict

The Dynamic Duo.

Restaurant: If I could recomment something to Rap’s, it would be to use some of their profits and give the interior (and exterior) a visual overhaul. The place is too crowded, and the furniture is outdated. Plus, the posters on the wall give me more of a butcher shop vibe than a steakhouse. Rating for the restaurant: 6.5/10.

 

It's thin, but covers a lot of area.

Food: There are three ingredients to make a good Rap’s meal. Steak, rice, gravy. That’s a trifecta of tastes I could go for everyday I’m hungry in DLSU. Aside from these, Rap’s also possesses a well-versed set of rice bowls and set meals, so I don’t think it’s hard to go wrong choosing a main course. However, I was really disappointed with their cheesecake, so I’m not too keen on the desserts. Rating for the food: 7.5/10.

Staff: The staff don’t like to talk or interact much, which is understandable, seeing how busy the establishment is. Still, I would like at least a modicum of conversationality once in a while, and not a feeling like I’m being rushed into my order. While the cashier may seem pleasant enough, the staff seemed very standoffish and not accommodating in general. Rating for the staff: 6/10.

Overall: 7/10.

Size does matter.

Again, I’d like to apologize for my limited menu during my visit to Rap’s as a self-proclaimed critic. Speaking from experience, though, I can say that they have an extensive menu of delicious entrées that aren’t easy on the wallet, but are worth it beyond a doubt. I should definitely drop by again and fulfill the suggestions of my readers 🙂

If you’re thinking of going to Rap’s, it’s probably for one of these two reasons: 1) You’re in the mood for a fatty, meaty steak, or 2) You want to overdose on rice and gravy. They may not win you over for their location or service, but Rap’s is a staple in Taft for a reason, and that’s the food.

Next time you have the meat/gravy cravings and a little cash to spare, Rap’s is your choice, make sure you’re there! I’ll make more of these poems from now on 🙂

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Artistic Steak. Arti-steak. Hahaha I used this joke before.

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