Gringo—A Party on your Plate

THE newly opened restaurant called Gringo at the 2nd floor of SM Premier invited me to their grand opening; but due to a conflict in schedule, I wasn’t able to make it the party. The resto in CDO is their 9th branch and the very first outlet outside of Metro Manila.

Louise Dizon, Marketing Officer of Mc Wilson Corporation, said that they decided to open their first provincial branch in our beloved town because Tokyo Bubble Teahouse is already doing well here. The latter is a sister company of Gringo, both homegrown companies under Mc Wilson.

I finally got the chance to tryout this new hip place with a few of my girls last week, and we were happy with our restaurant choice. True to the tagline written on their menu, Gringo is indeed the perfect place for “chicken, ribs, and friends”!

Before anyone thinks that I was fed free food to write up this glowing review, nope…I paid for my lunch out of my own pocket! I typically write about the things or places that I seek-out/patronize so that I can give an adequate evaluation and assessment.

The ambience of this Tex-Mex inspired cantina is family-friendly, with muted lighting and cozy, rustic interiors. My friends and I opted to sit by the quiet corner near the bar, where we were able to chika to death without any distractions. Their waiters were well-trained: attentive when we needed refills, stayed at polite distance when we talked, and easy to call when we wanted attention.

Gringo offers great food, affordable prices, and sizeable portions. They have traditional Mexican dishes such as: chilli, tacos, taquitos, quesadillas, burritos, and nachos. My friend Kirstin ordered the crispy pork belly (P265) with mango cilantro salsa and she said it hits the spot! She was kind enough to let me mooch off to taste; and it had the right crunch, with the salsa adding a sweet-salty-tang that went well with the accompanying shredded cabbage and rice.

My other friend Weena and I ordered ½-sized Southern Spice Chicken with the 3-sides option that cost P365. We ordered a plate of that each, thinking everything would be on the “smallish” serving sizes, as is the norm in most restaurants here in this country.

Well, as it turns out, the plates were large and we weren’t able to finish them at all. The chicken was juicy and well-marinated. An order of this size can easily be shared by at least 2 people because, aside from the sides, it also comes with some nacho chips and pico de gallo.

The sides are also generous and come in separate metal bowls. They have a pretty extensive list of sides including both traditional favorites and healthy options. Traditional examples include white rice, Mexican rice, mashed potato, fried plantain, marbled potato, potato salad, etc. Healthy options are roasted squash, roasted eggplants, sweet potato mash, corn, mushrooms, steamed saba, baked beans, and the like.

We were all happy with the side dishes, especially the classic creamy macaroni salad with carrots and raisins, reminiscent of how my grandma used to make it. My friend Weena loved this place so much; she even came back the next day with a different group of friends and picked all her sides to be macaroni salad. She said that the ¼ size chicken is perfect for one person and it is cheaper at 200 plus pesos only.

The waitress gave us an orangey-peach colored sauce to go with our food. It’s sort of like a creamy spicy dip with a hint of lemon, cayenne, cumin, and paprika. I liked it, but some people who don’t fancy too much heat on their food might want to steer clear from this dip.

They have a pretty extensive menu; and I can’t wait to try the rest of their offerings, particularly the baby back ribs, with my children in tow. I noticed from perusing the menu that they use uncommon and atypical types of meat to top their tacos and stuff their burritos such as: adobo, salpicao, cream dory, and pork belly. There was a chile con carne taco on the menu that’s quite a steal for only P88.

Except for the giant margarita for P360 and the clam chowder for P180, the prices were reasonable given the large serving portions and premier location. This is definitely a place where people can sit back, relax, and chill. My girls and I stayed here talking for a long time and not once did we feel rushed to vacate our spot. What can I say, but good food tastes infinitely better when shared with good friends!
So amigos and amigas, give this new restaurant a try. I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends and I did. Gringo restaurant has a Facebook page with the same name if you want to check out food pictures before giving it a go.

*****

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