Suppose to be how I should've felt when J took me here for our six years together. I was, but I also guessed it before we even started walking to the restaurant. I'm pretty dam good sometimes.
Tito Rad's a Philippines cuisine restaurant that specializes in home cooking, or at least that's what it felt like. The atmosphere was very laid back. Also, my first time trying real Philippines food. I really wouldn't know what to order if it wasn't for J.
The layout of the restaurant looks a lot like a Vietnamese restaurant. It's not big, but the decor felt really home-y and simple. There's TV screens everywhere, so it's like you're dining at home.
Our spread. Yes, we ordered a lot of food and yes we did finish it all. Philippine cuisine is definitely different than your Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. Not too salty or packed with a "bam" flavor either.
Dinuguan ($7.95) was a creepy dark looking dish. The appearance is quite a turnoff eh? It's pork in vinegar and pork blood, the cooked pork blood gives it that dark brown color. How does it taste? Well, for one thing, it was really iron-y and gamey tasting. I like coagulated pork blood but this was on a totally different level. It tasted too strong for me, good thing J liked it...he can have it all.
I have to have some vegetable on the table, so I decided on the Ginisang Ampalaya ($8.45). A simple dish consisted of bitter melon, eggs and shrimp. It tasted really light and not bitter at all which I'm surprise. I've had bitter melon at other restaurants before and it was always bitter. Plus, this melon is good for you - prevents diabetes.
J was so excited about the Lechon Kawali ($7.95). When it came out, I knew why. It was pork belly, fried pork belly. It wasn't even dripping in oil, felt like it was flashed fried because it was dry and still really crunchy. Ok, maybe crunchy to a point where it's a bit hard. You need to know how and where to bite so you don't get hurt. No joke, eating this takes experience and practice! Either that, or just chew and bite really slow. I really like the skin and the fat part...hehe.
Last but not least, the Inihaw Tuna Belly ($Seasonal) was really good. Smokey and tasted great with the salty sauce. It took the longest to cook and I keep telling J to wait for it because I didn't want to start eating the other dishes before this. Totally worth it because the skin was sizzling and had a nice crisp to it.
And if that wasn't enough, we ordered dessert.
Tough decision but I clenched my hands and ordered the Tito's Delight ($6.95). Presentation was really pretty and colorful, 3 different slices of cake - Ube (purple yam, addicting texture and taste), Leche Flan (tasted like a cheesecake version of flan, quite dense), and Cassava (suppose to be made from the cassava plant but I take sticky rice and banana here). Great dessert overall and it really lets you have a glimpse into the Philippine's culture.
Lovely meal and I couldn't ask for anything more than just spending the evening with my boyfriend and having a simple yet satisfying dinner for our six year.
Tito Rad's Grill & Restaurant
49-12 Queens Blvd
Sunnyside, NY 11377