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Table Suggestions: Chicken Inasal at Antonio’s Grill

By franco on 24 March, 2009

Chicken Inasal from Antonio's Grill

I have been warned.

Many a well-fed friend has cautioned me not to go to Antonio’s Grill. Their arguments were never about service or the quality of food but always about the cost of such a common culinary endeavor. In other words, why exactly would you spend such an exorbitant amount of cash on a meal that you can get for a song at any street-side, turo turo carinderia?

The answer is simple. It’s Antonio’s.

I have never hidden the fact that I am an unabashed Antonio’s fan. As any food lover who has dined at an Antonio’s establishment will attest, Chef Tonyboy Escalante and his staff have raised the bar in defining what dining out should be—a bit of gastronomical theater that not only feeds the stomach but also the soul.

Enough of waxing poetic. I have a very specific reason for going to Antonio’s Grill—to try their much-discussed Chicken Inasal. Closely associated with Western and Southern Visayas, Chicken Inasal is dish of marinated chicken, grilled over an open charcoal flame and served with steaming hot garlic rice. Beyond the unusual orange tinge (courtesy of a basting oil of annatto seeds), what makes this dish unique is the deep smoky, salty-sour flavor that make those who have savored this dish keep coming back for more.

Being a son of Negros, Chef Escalante has great reverence for this famous regional delicacy and it shows. Keeping to the traditions of a dish born in little Bacolod grill shops, Antonio’s Chicken Inasal (a leg quarter for P110) has a perfect smoke flavor—deep and earthy. Cutting into its flesh, you can almost hear the crunch of the skin. Once you slice into the meat, it weeps tears of orange oils. To call this piece of grilled flesh moist is an understatement.

Is it expensive? Yes. But short of finding my way to Bacolod, their Chicken Inasal is the best I have ever had. And besides, it’s still cheaper than a plane ticket.

Antonio’s Grill
One Destination
Aguinaldo Highway
Tagaytay City, Batangas

Telephone: (046) 483 4847

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  • MARCH 22, 2009 1:47 PM

    Anonymous said...

    it's the best, period!!!

  • MARCH 23, 2009 3:53 AM

    Chinkee said...

    I, too, am a big fan of Chef Tonyboy's cooking. Although my fiance and I have agreed to visit his fine-dining resto at least four times a year, we have also been warned to eschew Antonio's Grill. But, then again... chicken inasal by the Great Tonyboy? How can anyone say no to that?:-)

  • MARCH 24, 2009 5:50 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Anon. I'm not sure about the best.

    Like Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore or Pho in Vietnam or Pizza in New York, everyone has an opinion on who serves the best.

    For me, Antonio's Grill serves best I've had so far - but I am more than willing to try other people's suggestions. :)

    Hi Chickee. When Chef Escalante places his name on a restaurant. It's hard to resist trying the food despite the hefty price tag. I enjoyed the inasal. You might too. :)

    Hello Anon. As for ownership, I can say. I just don't know. The reality of commercial kitchen is that most marquee chefs do very little actual cooking. Most cooking in restaurants are done by a team of line chefs, who assembly and plate the food to be served. At best, most chef/owners create menus, manage kitchens, do quality assurance, expedite orders and most importantly market their restaurants...

    Admittedly, the Antonio's name will get customers like me through the door. In the end, it's the quality of both the food and the service that will make us come back for more - or even want to talk (or blog) about the restaurant. :)

    Thanks for the suggestion, btw. :)

  • MARCH 26, 2009 12:38 AM

    ragamuffin girl said...

    I love chicken inasal and would go for streetside versions or lofty ones like this anytime! Beautiful pic of that leg by the way.

    Too bad Japan was postponed but if your wife is a sushi lover then now would be a disappointing time to go.I would have preferred to go when I could eat sushi as well but we were there for a graduation. Good thing HK is crazy about anything Japanese so there are some very good sushi places here as well. :)

  • MARCH 30, 2009 12:40 PM

    gourmandtales said...

    the chicken inasal really looks good

  • MAY 14, 2009 11:34 AM

    Anonymous said...

    it really looks good but the truth is "it's not!!! imagine youre eating "Pangat'(pangatlong -init) like- calderetang lasang karton,sisig na pusit na puro mayonnaise at fried chicken na daing(too salty chicken)- it doesn't satisfy you paying for a pricy food and to tell you "its not worth it"besides having a small rest room for a big restaurant "ITS A REALL RIP-OFF" thats what "antonios grill is all about!

  • AUGUST 9, 2009 2:58 PM

    Anonymous said...

    Regarding about your comment about Chef Tony Boy "doesnt even cook the food.." its not true. I'm from Bacolod and I know the Escalante family. I can attest that Chef Tony Boy is a great cook. (Why people call him a chef if you think he doesn't cook?) Even before he was young, he has a passion for cooking. I have tasted a lot of his dishes..and it is heaven.. and fyi, if u want to try the original inasal go to BACOLOD and btw, Negrenses knows how to cook the real inasal, the way they should be.

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