Friday, April 1, 2016

Easter Break 2016 (Part II): Dean & Deluca

I’ve always liked the pizzas and pastries at Dean & Deluca so that’s where I took the pamangkins for dinner.

Dean & Deluca is a popular chain of upscale grocery stores that started in New York in the ‘70s. The lone store in Manila, however, is more a restaurant than a culinary emporium.

I was curious about these flavored sugar
The first time I visited the restaurant, I ordered its honey-glazed pork ribs and all-American grilled cheese sandwich, both of which were good, but not as memorable as its banana quinoa bread and carrot cake. I’ve also had the occasion of trying the Parma pizza, which earned my approval.

This time around, we got to try a wider selection because I knew my foodie troupe were up to the task of polishing off everything that was served on the table.

The girls, Joanna, Jenna and Julia, started with the slow-roasted pumpkin soup, which earned three thumbs up but with the qualification (by Joanna) that it’s still not as good as Cibo’s.

The crispy calamari was exactly that, and the squid was tender, not at all chewy.

This was Joaki’s choice, the herb-roasted chicken au jus. The slow roasting was evident in the tenderness of the chicken, which was deliciously seasoned. However, I found an off-putting alcohol-like taste in the barley chorizo risotto.

The skillet meatballs stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t expect to find the meatballs of my dreams at Dean & Deluca. The Angus beef ball falls apart in your mouth and it goes exceptionally well with the rich flavor of the arrabiata and peppery arugula. An exceptional bite. We loved it so much we ordered another plate.

The butifarra con salsa funghi e tratufo
Of the pastas, the butifarra con salsa funghi e tartufo was highly recommended but I’d say go for the good ol’ carbonara. Granted, it is not traditional because the noodles are slicked with cream, not egg (although there’s a poached egg on top). On the merit of taste alone, this is a winner. And, mind you, it’s hard to find good carbonara (our favorite is the one of Manila Peninsula, which we ordered by room service during a stay).

The carbonara topped with poached egg

We ordered two pizzas, my favorite Parma and one we haven't tried, Sausage duo. I am no snob when it comes to pizzas and I enjoy the occasional Shakey's thin crust and Pizza Hut pan pizza as much as the next person, but seeing a well-made crust like this, all puffy with raised blisters, buoys my spirit. 

The Parma

The Sausage Duo, Joanna's preference

We capped off our meal with Joanna’s choice, the Hokkaido cheesecake. What a heavenly pick it turned out to be. I enjoy the occasional cheesecake but I usually gravitate more towards sponge cakes and meringue-based cakes like sans rival. This though, I totally dig. It’s lighter and less sweet than the NY variety, and its texture more akin to a soufflé or chiffon cake. Pillowy, velvety, ethereal--everything a cheesecake should be.

Happy diners
On more than one occasion, I have complained about the slow service at Dean & Deluca, especially at the takeout counter. I think this has been addressed somewhat. We did experience a snag when one of our additional orders wasn't placed but this was attended to immediately.

Dean & Deluca
Edades Tower
Amorsolo Drive,
Rockwell, Makati

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