Monday, April 7, 2014

Restaurant Review: Tribu Grill

Tribu Grill - lunch on March 30, 2014, 3 stars on yelp
My parents and I go out to lunch every Sunday after church. We usually go to the same handful of restaurants in their town, typically something close to our church or where I need to go afterwards to do my errands (cough*Target*cough). But once in awhile we'll go a bit farther than the norm and such was the case when we go to Tribu Grill.
Tribu opened up a few years ago and it's a Filipino restaurant. We actually don't eat at Filipino restaurants that often, not because we don't want to support them because we do. But my mom is such a good cook that there's seriously no Filipino restaurant as good as her cooking. My dad's side of the family also has some legendary cooks, you know, the kind who never measure anything, just cook by taste and crank out family favorites at the drop of a hat. That's how my mom cooks too and between her, my aunts and my cousins, they've set such a high bar that the rest of the family is spoiled. It's like being raised by people who make the best, most tender, flavorful steaks but when you go out to eat, everyone else serves beef jerky. I don't like beef jerky.
Daing na Bangus (milk fish)
But sometimes, we do take the plunge and Tribu is one of the few places we'll go for Filipino food. Because they're good. Their rice is good and their entrees are good. A lot of Filipino cooking is fried and badly made Filipino food is greasy and can be fatty. Tribu is a notch above that so it is one place my snobby taste buds enjoy. I ordered the Pork BBQ rice plate and the pork was tender and whatever marinade and sauce they used for it was delicious. I even ate more rice than I normally do because most Filipino dishes go really well with rice. Tribu's price points are fairly reasonable with some entrees under $10 and others reaching closer to $15.
BBQ Pork with Rice
The main reason I like to go to Tribu is to get the bibingka for dessert. There are several different kinds of bibingka and the one at Tribu is a cakey butter coconut cake baked in banana leaves, covered with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar, coconut, cheese and salted egg. The cheese and salted egg are traditional additions but I prefer it with just the butter, sugar and coconut. I think Tribu pre-makes their bibingka then just warms it up because it's always served warm yet this time, when we got to the middle, it was still a little cold. Fortunately that didn't detract from the taste. I think they make theirs with wheat flour rather than just rice flour as the texture was cakey more than chewy. Chewy is what you'd get with all rice flour like the other kind of bibingka I've made before. I like this kind too and need to go looking for recipes to duplicate Tribu's.
Inside of the bibingka
When we've gone to Tribu in the past, mostly when they first opened, they served their entrees in the more traditional bamboo servers lined with banana leaves. On our last visit, they seem to have gone mainstream with just regular plates. That's too bad as I liked that "native" feel. Chicken Inasal, below (from a prior visit), is grilled chicken with a special sauce. It's good but when I had it at Tribu, I thought it was a bit greasy. Which is odd, considering it's supposed to be grilled, not fried.
Chicken Inasal
Their Chicken BBQ, however, is delicious. Whatever marinade they use for the chicken is amazing and it's always fork tender. Granted, chicken's typically a safe bet but still, this is delicious. If you're trying to introduce someone to Filipino food, although this is pretty Americanized, it's a good choice.
Chicken BBQ
Pancit is a traditional Filipino noodle dish, as prevalent to Filipinos as chow mein is to the Chinese. I like pancit but rarely order it when we go out because, you guessed it, I love my mom's pancit and am prejudiced against everyone else's.
Pancit Miki Bihon

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