'Twas a feast to remember...
I got excited when I was invited by Spanky Enriquez to have dinner at Village Tavern with other bloggers. It was high up on my to-dine-in list and so this came at an opportune time. I came on time and Spanx was already there. After a little chitchat, the other bloggers started coming in as did the food.
For the appetizer, we had the Blackened Shrimp (P595) which was sumptuous as it was extravagant. Triangular pieces of toasted bread were spread out in a fan-like fashion, each surface tarnished in golden brown. A heap of succulent shrimps lay submerged in a pool of Bayou cream sauce which had a robust flavor sporadically tainted with spice. Definitely a gorgeous plate that successfully whets the appetite.
Then came the salads and first up was the Asian Tuna Salad (P495). Those fresh Ahi tuna were luscious and seductive. My eyes immediately zeroed in on the pinkish meat besmeared with sesame ginger dressing. A single bite carried with it a tender protein cocooned in a slightly acidulous taste with the greens rounding it up for balance.
The Grilled Chicken Spinach and Mixed Greens (P595) wasn't exactly as pretty as the first and the looming muffin on the side left much to be desired aesthetically as it was the first time I had seen one on a salad plate. As I fork in a bite, my immediate thought was, never judge a book by its cover. The second... let's just say it was good that I've managed to keep such expletive words inside my head. Granted it was a tumbled mess, but this smorgasbord of apples, bacon, pecans, grilled chicken, spinach, blue cheese, cranberries, tomatoes, sliced egg and other greens brought about a flavor profile that was deliciously multi-dimensional. A little acidity from the sweet vinaigrette and a hint of smokiness from the bacon and chicken were gorgeously capped off with sweetness from the cranberries. I have to say, it easily made its way to my list of all-time salad favorites.
I hate beans ever since I could remember. I had a horrible experience of the kind put in burritos when I was a kid and I've sworn off almost all kinds since. Seeing the blackened ones served with the Crispy Chicken Tacos (P475), I made a mental note to skip it. The chicken tenders encrusted with spices were drizzled with chipotle sauce, giving it a nice little kick; I only hoped there was more of that mango slaw underneath. I don't know why I finally tried the black beans but I was glad I did. It was swimming in a sea of chocolate sauce! Whoever heard of beans in chocolate? Genius! That sweet factor made it enticing enough for me to really enjoy beans.
Thin and crisp, Village Tavern's flatbreads are their version of the ubiquitous pizza. I loved the combination of the Gruyere and Applewood-Smoked Bacon Flatbread (P495). The smokiness of the bacon was apparent as it played with the sweetness of the caramelized onions in reciprocity, all riding on a veneer of thin swiss cheese.
The Tavern Flatbread (P450) on the other hand, was more bountiful in terms of the melange of toppings that covered the coal-fired oven-baked whole wheat dough. Slathered with homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, and sprinkled with pepperoni, mushrooms, hamburger, diced green peppers and onions, this particular flatbread is certainly filling with a semblance of the usual pizza.
Don't get me wrong, the Grilled Chicken Penne (P425 regular; P675 to share) was indeed scrumptious in its own right. Its basil cream sauce was notably creamy and had bits of crispy pancetta, grilled chicken and caramelized onions, albeit the latter wasn't discernible. It was just that with all the great food laid out in front of us, it unfortunately paled in comparison. It wasn't so much that it lacked in flavor as it did in terms of that extraordinary factor I have come to expect based on the dishes that preceded it. If it were served under different circumstances, I believe I would have better appreciated it.
This, hands down, was my favorite. I have a thing for crab cakes, however, constant disappointing experiences of having pieces of crab shell mixed within, have prompted me to avoid this particular victual. When I tried the Maryland-Style Crab Cakes (P495) I was floored. Not only did it NOT have the irritating stray piece of crab shell, the freshness of the crab meat was indubitable. As if the saporous property wasn't superb enough, dipping it into the homemade tartar sauce proved to be splendiferous. Addicting would be an understatement, and only manners kept me from finishing the dish.
With a thick, juicy patty made of Pureland Black Angus Ground Chuck flanked between artisan bread buns, the Cowboy Burger (P595) was a definite hit. Top it off with cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce, not to mention strips of applewood-smoked bacon and a tuft of caramelized onions, this is one burger you'd want to mess around with, literally. I was almost full at this point, but that attractive hunk of meat was just too hard to ignore with its come-hither look.
And then there were the Barbecue Pork Sliders (P425). The slow-roasted hand-pulled pork was incredibly tender. It was bathed in barbecue sauce that was tangy in taste, which was nicely curbed by the coleslaw atop it.
By the time the Chicken Colorado (P495 regular; P675 to share) had made its way to the table, I was more than sated. Perhaps due to this fact, I wasn't able to appreciate the pretty piece of meat in front of me. Golden brown in color with skin glimmering under the warm lights, the chicken had a mantle of melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. On top were bits of applewood-smoked bacon (they just love putting these), finely diced tomatoes and scallions. Served with it are some greens and those aforementioned sweet black beans.
Don't think this is the end. As the title says, "Part 1" and so it must have at least a Part 2. Watch out for it -- the dessert and drinks that made for a satisfying epilogue to this feast.
Spot: 2nd/L Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Ave. cor. 29th St. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Contact No.: 621.3245