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10 January 2012

Herschel: A Night at Uno Pizzeria

I was enthusiastic to take on the challenge of covering my first ManilaFoodistas event last Friday night (did I hear a song?!) – solo at that, and while the gang wasn’t around to supervise, I came to enjoy the experience, with food as the star of the show.

Organized by the people behind OpenRice Philippines as a “mini-eyeball”, several site members and an assortment of guest bloggers and friends were invited to Uno Pizzeria to mingle, sample and most of all, have fun!

Uno Pizzeria Ristorante Bar, an Italian-American-Asian fusion-themed joint, is located at Pasay’s San Miguel by the Bay (behind the MOA complex, and near the MOA Eye that Nicole blogged about last week), among the offshoot of restaurants that lined the strip. The façade of the resto was painted in red and black, quite like a playing card suit, while the interiors were austere white (even for the chairs and tables).


The rest of the room is spacious. Neon blue lights accented the dining area, while fiery red donned the mini-bar. Mini-bar, you say? If neon lights, mirrorballs and DJs were any indication, let me clue you in later…

Pride of place: the bestseller, Four Seasons Pizza
We started the night with a hefty Four Seasons Pizza (that consisted of West Side Shrimp Pesto, Tandoori Chicken Mango, Uno’s White Pizza, and Ruby Ribs, if I wasn’t mistaken). Among the three out of four variants I tried out the shrimp pizza won me over, as I am perpetually in love with shrimps slathered with white cheese. Good thing they came out with a similar pie, the Uno's Seafood Pizza, entirely indulgent with calamari and more shrimp. The Tandoori Chicken Mango wasn’t bad either, if you’re into a more savory, Asian bite.

Uno's Seafood Pizza

Tender and delicious: Ruby Ribs
The main entrée came shortly, and it was a revelation. Behold the Ruby Ribs, said to be Uno’s specialty – it was a juicy piece of bones and meat, tender to the bite and the sauce seasoned just right. Our platter was served with ‘Tato Wedges, although the menu says entrees are to be served with buttered vegetables with your choice of mashed potatoes or rice, or pasta with soup.

Uno-7(from left, clockwise: Pesto Chicken Parmigiana, Grilled Chicken Salad Wraps, Jumpin' Jambalaya, Chicken Barbeque Quesadillas)

And with that the night just got started. We had appetizers of Buffalo Wings (not spicy or crunchy as I assumed) and Grilled Chicken Salad Wraps (light and filling). The only thin crust pizza came, called Buddha’s Feast, as it was strewn with lettuce and tomatoes. Two kinds of pasta were served: the Pesto Chicken Parmigiana and the Jumpin’ Jambalaya (pomodoro-style, smattered with ham, sausage, shrimp and chicken). While being a noodle head, the accompanying sauces were quite an overwhelming combination – mildly sour (in the case of parmigiana), and not the usual savory tomato (with the Jambalaya). I felt that the flavors could have been improved, as the servings were good (for 4, at least) and the toppings adequate.

I was appeased by the next entrée, a juicy, smoked chicken chop with mild-tasting sauce. We also had Chicken Barbeque Quesadillas (tasty, filled with cheese and smothered by toasted but soft tortilla wraps). And in case you wondered, we gulped the bulk (there were so many!) down with iced tea and a couple of mixed-drink towers (Margarita and Weng Weng).

For the encore, it was apt to have a meaty deep dish pizza. Being an inveterate bread eater, I had no qualms with the quality of the pies. The baked dough was soft in texture, whether thin or regular or deep dish. As mentioned earlier, I preferred cheese-overloaded and seafood-strewn pizzas, although Uno’s other variations suited my tastes too.

Our party was rather small, but the beauty of holding an early dinner was that as the night wore on, the vibe of the place evolved. Featuring an in-house DJ, R&B grooves as musical ambiance played as we ate. Around eight, when we were just about full, some guests were pouring in looking for a quick drink (hence the mini-bar). And up until the crack of nine, the aural pace slowly crept with dance tunes and current pop ditties! The pizzeria was converted to a lounge by the sweep of an hour! As we left the room with a crowd assembled near the entrance, I had to say that under the spot’s initially relaxed demeanor lives a frenetic spirit. HT for MF
Uno Pizzeria Ristorante Bar
Bldg G, Units 9-14 San Miguel by the Bay MOA Complex
Pasay City, Metro Manila 1300
Contact Number: 555-1174

Special thanks to Uno Pizzeria’s proprietor Alvin Ong and manager Girlie Herrera, and to the eager team behind (Khaezel, Cecille, Dani & Raissa) for the evening.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed on this entry are those solely of the poster/diner. The opinions do not represent the consensus of MF, the featured dining spot, and/or third parties.)

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