Wednesday, May 12, 2010
New Dishes at an Old Favorite
I love those get-togethers that are totally random. Matt had a dinner meeting in Makati, so I was left with nothing to do after work. Luckily, my favorite single ladies- Mrs. Nadal and Cookie Goddess- were free that evening. I remember that Terry’s Segundo Piso had new menu items so- without having to worry about Matt and his dietary restrictions- I asked the girls if they wanted to try it out. As expected, their reply was a resounding “yes”.
They picked me up at my parents’ place and we all headed to Segundo Piso’s Pasong Tamo branch. The restaurant is located above (hence, the name) their famous deli where their impressive wine selection and European delicacies are made available to us foodies. The spacious dining room is modern and cozy, making it the perfect place to indulge without having to fuss over what to wear. Everything seems unchanged, from the wooden shelves filled with wine bottles, the high ceiling and the open kitchen. As usual, we spot the owner and culinary icon JC de Terry, with his brother-in-law Antonio Garcia and two other ladies. Mrs. Nadal says hello while Cookie Goddess and I find our table.
Famished, we look through the snazzy new menu and marvel at the number of new dishes being offered. Without waiting for Mrs. Nadal (who was still chatting with JC and company), we quickly order new appetizers to try. Our wine of choice- a 2008 Protos Rosado from Ribera del Duero- was already chilled, so we quickly had our pours before it was submerged in an ice bucket. I love this rose with Spanish food- just enough acidity to cut through the fat and the right balance of fruit and dryness to compliment almost any dish.
When Mrs. Nadal finally came to our table, the server informed us that our order of Duck for the Gods (OMG, right?) was not available, so we asked Mrs. Nadal to pick something else. Despite hints to pick from the new appetizers, she still decided to go with the classic- Chorizo on Piggyback. I cannot blame her- this classic SP dish never fails to disappoint in terms of flair and flavor. The chorizo is first flambéed in a pig-shaped clay cooking vessel before being sliced and plated. I noticed that the plating in SP has improved greatly, adding to the aesthetic appeal of their dishes.
Our next appetizer was the Tuna Belly Tempura with Artichoke Dip. Purists would gasp at the sight of this in a Spanish menu, but as they thoughtfully explain to us gringos, tempura was actually brought to Japan from Spain by Jesuit priests. So, tempura IS Spanish. Pushing technicalities aside, it was simply scrumptious- the crispy batter was flavorful and airy, while the fish was flaky and moist. The dip, too, was a nice accompaniment with its subtle earthiness and texture from the artichokes.
As we chatted and chewed on the tempura, the Stuffed Piquillo Peppers arrive. This is one sexy dish if I have ever seen one. The bright red peppers- looking shiny and lacquered- slide around your mouth as you slowly break them down with your tongue. The stuffing is creamy and velvet smooth with delicate flavors of cheese and Iberico. I can imagine Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz feeding each other this dish with their hands in that sexy way that they do… Penelope’s thick, tousled dark hair just brushing the peaks of her decolletage as she leans over to pop a stuffed pepper into Javier’s full mouth. You get what I mean.
Finally, the Paella Negra is served- a personal favorite, something SP does very well. Cookie Goddess and I both notice, though, that it seemed to be lacking in flavor a bit. We really could not place a finger on it (The broth was bland? Not enough squid ink?), but there seemed to be something missing. Whatever it was, we still finished the dish off. It was still good, but being used to superlatives when it comes to SP’s paellas, we knew we have had better.
Needless to say, the girls and I will be back again to try more of their new dishes, as well as to “re-try” the old favorites. It makes me happy to see that an old-timer like JC de Terry continues to challenge himself and is more than happy to give his regulars something new and adventurous. He’s a true artist, as his many fans call him, and I could not wait to try more of his new creations.
Segundo Piso at Terry’s Selection
Pasong Tamo Ext.
Tel. no. (632) 8441816
Segundo Piso has other branches in One Lafayette Sedeno cor. Valero Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati City and at the Lower Ground Floor of The Podium, San Miguel Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City.