Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I heard about 'CUE while I was still in the US, and it seems to have so much going for it, chiefly that it is a barbecue restaurant. I happen to enjoy barbecue, having grown up on Landoy's, that late lamented barbecue place in my hometown of Ozamiz. I think barbecued meat is the most fun dish around.

With jet lag bearing down hard on me, I had lunch at 'CUE. It is one of the new establishments in the new High Street mall. The place is beautiful and stylish, with a portion of its ceiling covered in cowhide. Dowa thought it was disturbing; I didn't. One drawback: this mall is one of those with a set of restrooms servicing all the tenants. This seems to be a trend among the smaller Ayala Malls (cf. Triangle, TechnoHub). 

The menu is short, which I like. I don't like restaurants with too many things that end up overwhelming the customer. The first item that just grabbed me was the steak and marrow tacos. I mean, could there be a more sinful and deadly and savory dish than this? I've had marrow in soup, I've had marrow to "butter" some crunchy bread, I've had marrow as a burger topping, but I've never had a marrow taco. So we had that. 

The dish was served on a chopping board with an espresso spoon for scraping the marrow, and came with 6 perfect tacos, a corn salsa and a green pepper sauce. We eagerly scraped off the marrow, and sadly, the bottom half of the marrow was congealed, whereas the top layer was perfectly roasted. Our waiter quickly took our dish back and returned a few minutes later. This time, the (smaller) marrow was perfectly cooked and we felt indulgent indulging in this singular dish. A real winner, a keeper, but I worry for my next trip to the doctor's. Perhaps the red wine in the sangria will help?

Along with the tacos, we ordered the two arugula salad varieties, which were disappointing. Both seemed to be swimming in dressing and the blue cheese variety came with paltry smidgens of cheese.

We also had the pasta with a pulled-pork ragu, which was okay. We did like the Louisiana Beef Stew, with a good amount of meat and oxtail, and grits. I could be wrong, but 'CUE may be the first Manila restaurant to feature grits in the menu. The perfect side for saucy dishes, grits absorb the sauce and is pleasantly sweet - perfect for the Pinoy palate.


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