Bringing culinary expertise to the table

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FOODIES pride themselves in being the first to discover a good restaurant long before the rest of their colleagues ever know about it. One such find is Open Table.

The 40-seater joint is the brainchild of Lara Lopez-Dizon. She is anything but your average restaurateur.  For starters, Lara has been a longtime culinary-arts teacher at top culinary schools in the country. With her immense culinary background, it comes as no surprise that she also plays the role a restaurant consultant to several dining establishments.

Honey Tabasco Pork Belly

The casual restaurant specializes in American cuisine as it is the comfort food dearest to her.  Open Table sits quietly at the first floor of the two story building complex—2 Lazcano (which also happens to be  its address in Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City). The diner is among the recently opened establishments at this corner lot structure, which boast of ample parking space, and an easy-to-love setting.

Lara shared that “open table” connotes a welcoming and cozy place. Her statement is made evident by the New York loft vibe emitted by the bright yellow and black color motif at the second floor of the restaurant. The arresting combination of colors is a reflection of the vibrant flavors of its dishes.

Owner Lara Dizon

Start off with an order of Buffalo wings. The beer-match food has the classic taste one comes to expect, minus the excess grease. It is served with blue cheese dip and crudités.

Going for something light? Partake in some Chicken Cobb Salad or Caesar Salad. Whet your appetite with Shrimp Bisque or Pumpkin Soup.  Tasty sandwiches and pasta can be had, as well.

Meat expectations

It is hard to imagine American food without the big, bold flavors of its meat. At Open Table, the meat selection steals the show.

A must-try dish here is the Honey Tabasco Pork Belly. The sweetness of honey tempers the fiery taste of hot sauce, while keeping its unique flavor intact. The hefty portion of tender pork belly is served over Open Table rice (its version of dirty rice) with a side of cabbage. One need not be a hot-sauce aficionado to appreciate this creative dish. On a side note, the restaurant has its share of diners showing up the day after just to savor this dish again.

One will be supremely delighted with the imported baby back ribs grilled to perfection. (Available in half and full slab) low and slow cooking has made this sweet tangy entrée a fast-moving item on the menu. Eating with your bare hands is recommended for that extra satisfying feeling. Fried chicken, pork chops, steaks and burgers complete the protein lineup.

Nonmeat eaters will not feel left out with its Grilled Soy Salmon Fillet and New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp Shack.

Going the extra mile

Lara goes all out for the utmost enjoyment of her diners.

For instance, in the event a diner fancies something not on the menu, the chef owner will gladly cook it as long as all the ingredients are at hand.

Aside from that, one is also free to order food from the two other restaurants in the building complex—Bento & Co (which is a reinvention of the Japanese restaurant Sushi-Ya)  is a go-to place for quick sushi and sashimi fix; and Juan Republika, which is known for its  Filipino dishes is  (Pinakbet Rice and Street Food Fiesta, for example).

However, the sweetest revelation of all remains—you can bring your own beer when you dine at Open Table—with no corkage fee.

With the collection of time-perfected recipes alongside the many things this restaurant can boldly lay claim to, it is just a matter of time before Open Table finally becomes an open secret.

Open Table is at Lower Ground Level, 2 Lazcano corner Scout Magbanua and Mother Ignacia, Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City.

Image Credits: Cesar Cruz Jr.



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