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When the executive chef invites you to a steak dinner, say yes!

This is Chef Rhey Huergas, Executive Chef for Friday’s. Do a search for him on Google or Bing and you’ll see that he’s media-decorated. I met him because he’s the cousin of a friend I work with. We were at Friday’s at the time (DOH!), the day was a bitch, and boy were we hungry.

He asked me if I liked steak. My face was like this:

When the executive chef invites you to have dinner with him, always say yes!

OK so I’m not a steak connoisseur but I love good steak — I’m not a foodie. I’m an eater with quasi-vampiric tendencies because I usually take my meat medium well. But I couldn’t look at Chef Rhey in the eye when he asked how I wanted it because I KNEW if I said medium well to a 500 gram t-bone, that would just ruin it all. And behind the kitchen, he’d probably be like this:

So I had it semi bloody. And you know what, I wish I had brought a better camera. This photo doesn’t do it justice.

It comes with 3 types of sauces. You can eat it without, but I just had to dapple it with the horseradish. It’s honestly the best I’ve tried because it’s in cream form, and not stringy like atchara. You know the whipped butter of pancake house? Something like that, but for steaks! And it’s maasim.

You know, I had a conversation with a friend recently. We talked about the best steaks. Lucky for her, the mother cooks a really good rib-eye and nothing beats home cooking. When I gave my list, I mentioned 3 restaurants: Elbert’s Steakroom, Antonio’s and yeah, believe it or not, Friday’s. She was like WHAAAAT??! I was like … yeah I know. Hard to believe right? Not that Friday’s has bad food, mind you. You just don’t go there for steak. And this led me to narrate my experience when Chef Rhey, preparing the 500 gram wonder. This is the same chef who was asked to cook adobo for his boss. But since he lived in the USA, he had never experienced creating this standard Filipino dish. So for months he researched, and after sacrificing his health for cholesterol (due to adobo and crispy pata) he invented the Friday’s Adobo which, to be quite honest is also really good. It’s a huge brisket steak, done adobo style. The fork just goes through. You don’t need a knife. He went on telling me how the dish won the appetites during “International Night” when other foreign franchises wold visit. It’s a hit in Japan and other parts of Asia. It’s probably in the menu.

I was so full! But he still served the adobo. And crab. I was allergic to crab. Besides, crabs are friends. When I dive, I say hi to them. Be good to crabs.

And after that, he still fed me!!! That’s the Friday’s Adobo I was talking about. I suggest you try it.

OK so you wanna know how much you should set aside for the steaks. Look at these prices:

T-Bone Cut
500 grams PHP 3,375
800 grams PHP 3,995

New York Striploin
500 grams PHP 3,270
800 grams PHP 3,890

Funny story: there’s a cat outside Friday’s High Street and he’s really fat. That’s because the foreigners feed a whole steak to this kitty. Catch a glimpse of him when you pass by. Sadly, kitty wasn’t around this time so no photo today.

P.S. I have a theory about food — especially with carefully prepared meals like steak. I think the preparation of food is very personal. It’s not like a fastfood joint where you have a main commissary and almost everything is just shipped and re-heated. So for steaks, I enjoyed Antonio’s and Elbert’s because I know these chefs personally (shot the menu for Antonio’s in 2006 and Elbert, though not a chef, knows his steaks — met him because of the local Mac group from way back). Same thing with Chef Rhey — there’s something about knowing that he prepared it himself just for you.

So am I right? Or do I suck as an eater? Basta, it’s good.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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