Goto Tendon gives the classic lugawan a makeover
With air-conditioned interiors and the addition of the richer, more indulgent tendon in everything
On a cold, rainy day, nothing is as comforting as a steaming bowl of savory rice porridge
simmered for hours with ginger and kasubha and laden with the triumvirate of crisp garlic, green onions, and crunchy chicharon bits. It’s a bowl all too familiar for Filipinos. It’s comfort food; it’s immediate recluse from every harrying situation. Yet it gets better.
At Goto Tendon, an amusing rebirth of the ubiquitous lugawan-slash-paresan set in
resplendent, air-conditioned interiors, the humble goto welcomes a new member to the pack: sinewy, sticky, glorious tendon. The ultra tender litid comes in chunks atop the rice base, which in turn becomes thicker and more sinful—expletives abound as the tendon patiently dissolves via the goto’s residual heat. The result is nothing short of magnificence—a spiritual experience that is both enlightening and disembodying (i.e. an angelic level of comfort; alleluia!).
The tendon is just as promising in its other permutations on the menu. The U.S.-sourced,
collagen-rich litid also stars in the classic braised beef pares, a profound beef mami, a
heartwarming lomi, and a thought-provoking sizzling masterpiece swimming in a delightful gravy. The pares comes in three variants here—all-beef, all-tendon, or combination. It’s in the third option that the play on textures and flavors is fully revealed. Take advantage of the chili sauce on the side to give it some kick and, please, don’t shy away from ordering that second cup of garlic rice. It’s a must.
It comes as no surprise that most of Goto Tendon’s offerings are heirloom recipes handed
down from one generation to the next. Beyond the goto and the tendon, the silogs and a
brigade of rice meals all evoke a familial appeal. The beef tapa strikes the perfect balance
between sweet and savory, while the lasilog makes for a good introduction to the lamayo—a type of danggit from Coron, Palawan. Before you do, don’t overlook Goto Tendon’s burger steak. Made with 100% ground U.S. beef, the patty hints on the sweetish flavor of pineapples. Served with a thick mushroom gravy and perfectly sunny egg, it is reminiscent of Hawaii’s most comforting dish, loco moco.
It’s easy to understand why and how Goto Tendon stands out from its contemporaries. The tendon is one big factor; the air-conditioning is another. But both and more only prove the structured thought process behind what could have been just another gotohan. The menu may be extensive but not a single item is out of place. The side order of tokwa’t baboy is there because it pairs exquisitely with the goto; there are shaved-ice treats because they serve as the perfect ending to every meal.
Though Goto Tendon’s prices are slightly steeper than the usual holes-in-the-wall, the whole experience of dining in more than makes it worthwhile. The open kitchen, the well-equipped crew, the curated playlist, the beautifully designed collaterals, and even the restroom all promise comfortable hospitality as an add-on to the already comforting slew of dishes.
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