Great Comfort Food at BEEFFALO by HotRocks in San Juan

Thursday, November 02, 2017

It was a nice afternoon for a great lunch so we headed our way to BEEFFALO by Hotrocks located at 135 Hoover Street in San Juan City. If my memory serves me right, I think I've already eaten in one of their defunct branches at Club 650' in Eastwood Libis which closed down because they stopped the lease and making that a community of condominiums. Now this place is off the beaten track, only a few restaurants exist in this place with the exception of the nearby Wilson Street area.  

The restaurant was conceptualized by a husband and wife team - owners who adored grilling in their backyard in Marikina. Back then, their guests often comprise friends and family who absolutely adored their home cooking. The weekend parties became pretty frequent, even bigger and they kept on going back. The crowd became huge and later on found themselves spending a lot for food, then the husband thought about putting up a restaurant. His lovely wife thought he was crazy but decided to go through with it because he already paid for the space. The place in Marikina was barren land - where you would often see grass growing wildly, people often get lost as it was right in the middle of nowhere but people still flocked as a destination restaurant. 

Today the whole street has been lined with shops, some commercial establishments jumped the opportunity to also open there. They decided it was time to open BEEFFALO so they could cater to more people in Manila, a place that would still have shades of HotRocks food people love, a chill spot for home cooked food, coffee and good desserts.

The Place

This place is quaint, a little rustic, got that shabby chic kind of decor with a touch of color here and there. During our time there, they were already preparing for Halloween and the General Manager Louie Abad told us how they take this occasion seriously. They really dress up and find it was good to entertain their customers too.

It could probably accommodate around 50 people in one go. Lines are a normal scene during lunch and dinner so they'd appreciate if you reserve ahead if you plan to have a meal here. Though if you're really in the mood, go here on weekdays and you'll probably have a better chance to dine.

I was actually excited to see they had the BEEF to put up decors like these cows in the mix. I felt right at  home because you know, we're KUMAGCOW after all.

For small groups who plan to have intimate parties, might I suggest you get this section of the restaurant for more privacy. This would be fit for meetings as well.
Now all these nice things on the restaurant got me worked up. I think it's time to get to the more serious stuff and try out their food. Here's what you can expect from BEEFFALO.

The Food

Their dishes were pretty much a mix American comfort food, the ones that Filipinos love. The difference is the way they make it. I think it stems from the way their food is prepared because she (the wife) isn't formally trained, a proud home cook (a very talented one at that). You get to see the care and heart put in on every dish, which I absolutely love.
This is their Taco Barbecue Salad. It's a pretty hefty serving so this would be best if shared by two people. It's got nachos, taco beef, salsa, cheddar on a bed of roughly chopped lettuce. It's served with drizzled ranch dressing and a bit of barbecue sauce. Filled me up already, but there were more things on the menu.

They had a few soups on the menu but I chose this Roasted Pumpkin Soup. It's sweeter than the usual because they do roast the pumpkin before they blitz it. It was hearty, I felt warm and fuzzy already.

They do serve beer but prefer you have their hearty meals, if you want a bottle or two you can order these Nachos. They serve this with Salsa or Spinach Dip but we asked them to serve both because we're nice people. These are nice things to have before the main course, which we'll get to in a bit.

Might I interest you with this Biscuit Pizza of which they're very proud of because of it's super thin crust. This is their Margherita Pizza.

If you're a bit adventurous, go for the Garlic and Mushroom Pizza. Still with the thin crust, you get to taste more of the flavors of the toppings which they wanted when they made these pizzas. They also have it in Three Cheese and Pepperoni variants.

This is their Porterhouse Beeffalo Steak served with real mashed potatoes and vegetable slides. Now how do I put this, it wasn't as perfect as I wanted it to be because it's Tenderloin filet on the one side and the other is Strip Steak, which means it's more likely you get  tougher piece of meat on one side and a softer one on the other. This was seasoned well but I suggest you eat this as soon as it lands on the table. It'll feel different if you let it rest too long on the table with airconditioning. Still, I love meat so I'd order this in a heartbeat.

I love this one, it's their Buttermilk Fried Chicken. This started as an experiment they had with a popular food magazine in the Philippines but they have now included this as a permanent item on the menu. It's served with mashed potato or garlic rice and a side salad. The creamy gravy MUST be there for obvious reasons. It's a good representation of comfort food.

Since we were that special, they served us something that's not on the menu. This is their Salmon Steak. It's been deboned, so you don't get pricked. This obviously is a HUGE serving so we asked them to perhaps have this toned down once it lands itself on the menu and they were very nice and accommodating with regards to feedback. I like that about them.

I would like to personally introduce to you my favorite item on their menu (aside from the next one though!) is these lovely, mouthwatering Beeffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip. It's perfectly fried wings saturated in their Original Spicy Buffalo Sauce and it's available in HOT or SWEET variants. You can also ask them to prepare both if you have friends who don't like it spicy, but I'd rather see you  try it out yourselves. If my hunch is correct, they don't just use Tabasco here, but more of the Schezuan Pepper Corn which is known to be a bit hot. It's got a peppery profile so it permeates from the back of your mouth to your nose, I like this a lot I almost ate all of it LOL.

This brings it up a notch big time, this is their Baby Back Ribs. They do mean one and they use their own concocted spice rub which they say will remain a secret. As you may understand this is for sharing but if you're a big guy like me, please enjoy this on your cheat day. It's sweet and savory, not dry and you can taste how the meat must have been in the grill for hours as it also falls off the bone. If you have a special guest, please do not leave this place without ordering this.
BEEFFALO is but a wonderful place to get home cooked comfort food in San Juan. If you're near here or frequent this place, consider yourself lucky. It would be the best place to have a cup of coffee, dine with family and friends without minding too much on the budget. Best for groups too because most of their dishes are intended for sharing. Though I've seen quite a few pairs having lunch there, as it's cozy, not too fancy, very casual.

Please do visit them at 135 Hoover Street in San Juan City. I find that typing in the address on UBER or GRAB was easy than the actual name of the restaurant. I'll try and upload the photos on Google so you can find it, don't worry! 

Bring around 1,000 for a date night and that could feed 2 people (if you're on a diet, much less than that). Trust me on the wings!


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