Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Duo Steakhouse - Serendra

Restaurant Details
Location: Serendra, beside Conti’s and right across Chelsea
Cuisine: French-Italian Fusion
Price: PPP
Attire: Smart Casual

Our Details
What we had: Steak with Foie Gras (P750) and Penne Pasta with Salmon and Sea Urchin (P395)
Rating: ˜˜˜
Steak was done just as we request it – medium – which is something very rare (no pun intended) these days. The red wine sauce does not overpower the steak, leaving only the foie gras to do that. Steak was tender; foie gras was pan-fried to perfection. The large serving of pasta was intimidating, but as you savor the shitake mushrooms, salty salmon, and barely visible but definitely noticeable (when already in your mouth) uni, you will find yourself finishing the entire plate. The fresh parmesan grated on top was definitely a plus, unlike most restaurants using cheese that has been in the refrigerator for 3 months or worse, using cheese from a can. The service bread is always freshly baked (you can send it back if it’s not) – but ask for just the round ones. It’s their version of pan de sal, which goes excellently with the salsa.
Definitely worth it
Waiters are knowledgeable and well-trained. They are able to take multiple specifications with every order, barely visible when you don’t need them, but easy to find when you do.
The place looks like a well-built mansion dining area – the high ceiling makes being there delightful and not constraining. The best thing about it is it’s not tacky, the folks putting it together knew when to stop with the furniture and décor – this gives it a clean, fresh feel despite being a quasi-fine dining restaurant.
Bathroom was not fabulous but it was well-kept and spacious.

The Long Story

After finding out (the hard way) that multiple restaurants in Serendra are actually owned by one company, we were eager to try something good to have a reason to go back to Serendra. A friend recommended Duo – we were skeptical but when we saw the penne pasta with UNI, we just had to try it! So we did, and we’ve been going back and recommending it to everyone ever since.

We’ve actually already tried a number of things on the menu – Sea Bass (good), Lamb Chops (very good), Tessie Tomas salad (good), Tortellini Carbonara (good), Baked Cannelloni (normal), Prawn Bisque (very good), and Sugar Free French Chocolate Gateau (very good – must try). We’ve gotten boring after the first 10 visits so we always just order our favorites (Steak with Foie Gras and Penne Pasta with Uni).

The waiters are very formal, but they are not snooty or overly friendly. They do not try to “sell” you their recommendations but they do know what to recommend when you do ask them. The host remembers your name after 2-3 visits, which makes you feel welcome.

By the way, make sure you call in your reservation for good measure. You really don’t want to dine outside, unless you are a smoker. The only difficult part about this is getting someone to answer the phone when calling in for a reservation. Actually, the first time I tried this restaurant was with my dad. We didn’t have reservations, it was 7:00 and there was a table with an 8:30 reservation. We told the host that we would eat fast – after just 2 minutes of thinking and talking, the host let us use the table. Not a lot of restaurants would do that, understandably, but we did finish at 7:40 so we were happy about both the flexibility of the staff and the quality of the food.

You know the restaurant is good when we don’t have a lot to say about the place in the “long story”… it means we’ve been there too often and haven’t had any major complaints.


healthy eater said...

finally you rave about a place! that must mean it's pretty good. one thing i'd like to see on your blog would be pictures of what you've had or the restaurant itself. that would be interesting.

Mister Rants said...

We'll be including pictures along with our reviews pretty soon. We just have to make it a habit of bringing a camera along everytime we go out.

And yeah, this place is pretty good. Especially comparing it to some other crappy-trying-to-be-snooty restaurants we've tried. Blech