Chabs and Tords (who else?) accompanied me for late lunch one time. We wanted Pinoy dishes but Dencio’s was starting to go down our priority list because the service was bad and it always took forever to get the bill and the change. Good thing Kalye Juan was just a couple of steps away.
Since it was our first time, we let the waiter suggest. I like it when the staff is familiar with the products he is selling, when he can recommend really good dishes, not just the most expensive item in the menu. Remember, even mundane jobs when done with gusto and effort lead to extraordinary outcomes. While waiting for the food, prawn crackers were served.
We had Pork Barbeque, Salmon Sinigang sa Miso (Tord’s favorite), Grilled Sisig sa Kalye (bestseller), Pork Embotido (Chabs’ choice), and Adobong Sitaw. Tords was much happier with Kalye Juan’s Miso than Mangan’s because there was actual Salmon and the soup was sour. Chabs said the embotido was good although nothing beats the embotido of her mom. Pork barbeque was pork barbeque. The foods served were the same as the conventional meals cooked in a typical Filipino home, no twists, nothing special. And I am smiling in the picture because simply staring at delicious-looking foods makes me happy.
The Sitaw looked really fresh, like it was just picked from whatever plant it came from, chopped and then served. I did not try this but Chabs said it was good and I trust her judgement. I did not expect the dish to look that way. Guess I am used to the Adobong Sitaw Manang Tess cooks at home, the sitaw drowned in soy sauce, sagging, and sauteed in pork instead of shrimp.
Kalye Juan had a different version of sisig. Dencio’s was crunchy and full of chicharon while this one was soft and meaty. I don’t think pig’s head was used. The dish was not sizzling when served (heck, it wasn’t even hot), that was already a demerit. There must be a written code somewhere saying sisigs should be served at least hot. It’s good to try it once but not something to crave for and order again.
What Kalye Juan lacked (well, not actually “lack” but for my inability to think of a better term, we’d stick with that) because of the mediocrity of their foods, they made up for with the place and the service. Their tables were stable, the chairs comfy and the waiters were courteous and they patiently wait for your order without exhibiting that order-faster-you-stupid-customer vibe.