We were in Makati for the day, in from the Great Republic of Alabang, and my husband turned to me and said, “I’m inviting you to lunch at the best prime rib place in town.”
“It’s DELICIOUS, and I guarantee you we will be one of only two or three tables there.”
We are both Makati-bred, and as far as I knew, the only really good prime rib in town since, well, forever, was at the Prince Albert Rotisserie at the Intercontinental Hotel.
“You’re going to LOVE this place!” he tells me as we pull off Makati Ave. into the driveway of a Chinese discount hotel on the seedy side of the street.
We went through the hotel’s front door and headed to the elevator. Up. Stop. Get off the elevator…and get on a different elevator. Apparently the first elevator only takes you so high, in order to get to this steak, you have to undergo a journey.
We stepped out of the elevator and…what can I say? We stepped into the 70’s. It was amazing! Gulliver’s of San Francisco is a classic, tacky-down-to-the-psuedo-eighteenth-century captain’s chairs around each dining table, and the waiters-and-waitresses-dressed-in-period- costume American steak house! The placed oooooozed oh-so-Olde-Worlde charm! It was liked being sucked back through the Time Tunnel to the steak houses of my Midwestern youth, and I LOVED it from the moment I stepped through the doors!
Sure enough, we were one of only two tables in the restaurant, and we claimed our table at the window with a spectacular view of Makati in all its grimy splendor. The menu was perfect—chicken parmesan, lobster tail, but we came for prime rib, and prime rib we would have.
The meat came in three sizes. I took the biggest one. So did my husband. I was salivating as I ordered, and so was he. The wait staff were efficient, spreading a huge, crisp, white linen napkin on each of our laps and bringing us a basket of fresh, hot bread and sweet butter. They smiled as they took our orders, repeated them correctly, and went off to advise the kitchen of our choices, returning but moments later with an icy, frothy brew.
Moments later, the BEST, bar none (sorry Prince Albert Rotisserie!) prime rib I have ever sunk my teeth into on this side of the puddle, thick, amazingly large, beautifully marbled with just the right ratio of fat to meat, crispy on the outer edge and soft, juicy, red, and delicious all the way to the bone, appeared before each of us. On the plate were a baked potato with ALL the fixings—butter, chives (yes REAL fresh chives), bacon, and sour cream; a delightfully stodgy Yorkshire pudding, spinach soufflé right out of Graham Kerr’s Galloping Gourmet cooking show, and the best home-made creamed corn ever! The waiter then appeared with what was essentially a decanter of hot meat juice that he poured over each slab of beef.
I ate everything. EVERYTHING.
The Master Chef at Gulliver’s trained in their San Francisco kitchen, and he has everything down to perfection. The whole experience—the meal, the restaurant itself—was delightful because not only was the food so good, it evoked memories of a bygone era that made the meal taste even better.
Gulliver’s has been there for years, but nobody knows about it. My husband, a Makati native, found out about it because a friend dragged him there on the promise of the best and cheapest prime rib in town…and he was right! Each of our prime rib lunches, with all of the fixings, cost P1200.00, or roughly US$27.00. The restaurant has two branches, one in Makati, and the other in Quezon City, both at the Great Eastern Hotel. You can find out more by going to their web site, www.gulliverssf.com , but if you are a carnivore from the 70’s, Gulliver’s is an experience you won’t want to miss!