Monday, July 11, 2011

1 of 10: 2nd's

Last weekend, Yang and I got to try one of the 10 restaurants on our binge bucket list, 2nd's. We were in the High Street area (having come from the I'm Shoe in Love bazaar at the NBC Tent, & TGIFriday's where we watched the Ateneo-Adamson game), so we chose to stay in the neighborhood and have dinner at the restaurant that replaced Mag:net (beside Agave and across Cav).

The foyer on the ground floor is nondescript, almost shabby, as are the stairs and elevator leading up to the establishment. However, once one reaches the 2nd floor and pulls open the heavy wooden door to 2nd's, there's no mistaking it for anything but a "nice" restaurant, with an ambiance suitable for dates or intimate gatherings with friends. The interiors are streamlined and chic, but inviting and comfy at the same time. And the acoustics are fantastic, the usual cacophony of silverware, glassware, and dozens of conversations found in most restaurants is filtered and muted here.

2nd's servers give off an air of quiet competence (even in the way one waiter handled my camera as he took a group photo of us). You get the feeling these are servers who give reliable recommendations, so I asked ours if I should get the Truffled Mac N' Cheese or the Red Horse Fish and Chips, and he suggested I go with the latter. No regrets there, I thoroughly enjoyed my entree. I could distinctly taste the beer in the batter, but it didn't overpower the flavor of the tender barramundi fillet. The spiced fries were dangerously good, I could polish off a mountain of those things. I had to place the oversized cup in the center of the table to fight the temptation to finish the lot by myself.

Yang had the Three Little Pigs Kawali, a whimsical name for a sinful entree of crispy pork belly and foie gras nuggets. She was very happy with her food, but also happy enough to share with the rest of us, which was just as well since the pork belly and goose liver combination was so rich (and oozing with cholesterol!). We all also stole bites off her husband Angelo's plate of Mushroom Risotto, a delectable dish made with 3 kinds of mushrooms, truffle oil and balsamic vinegar. The generous serving portion was impressive too.

Our newly betrothed friends Ria and Carlo shared the Seabass Sinigang and Beef Rib Adobo. Ria declared both satisfactory,
and she remarked on the novelty of using seabass in a sinigang, but she did say the vegetables used weren't well-suited for the sour soup. The adobo struck me as rather ordinary, if only because it was the most ignored dish on the table. Then again, Ria and Carlo's plates were clean at the end of the meal.

The desserts were a hit for everyone, particularly the Pinkerton ice cream Yangelo and I ordered. We got a scoop each of the available flavors: Red Velvet, S'mores, and Apple Pie. They were all yummy beyond belief. I didn't get to sample Ria and Carlo's Leche Flan Turon a la Mode, but the plate looked pretty as a picture. Speaking of which, for more photos of our dinner at 2nds, head on over here.

Overall, 2nd's was a delightful dining experience, and a great start to our binge bucket list. Everything from the atmosphere to the food to the service felt polished, and though the place touts itself as serving "comfort food", it's a refined kind of comfort, and I can't think of another restaurant that successfully pulls that off. In spite of its name, 2nd's is definitely first class.


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