There’s a new restaurant just a few minutes’ drive away from home. It’s located on Hoover St., somewhere behind SM Hypermarket Shaw. If you’re coming from Shaw, just turn into the corner of the new Toyota Service Center across from Nueve de Febrero and go straight. It’s on the route people from QC or Greenhills usually take to go to Makati and vice versa.
BEEFFALO BY HOTROCKS SAN JUAN
Beeffalo San Juan is a homey kind of restaurant specializing in grilled items. They opened last July 2017. I think it’s a good place for family meals and also for meet-ups with friends. It’s also a good place to go if you live nearby and need a place to work (bring your own internet, I don’t think they provide wifi).
There’s ample parking and it’s quiet. The place is well-lighted during the day with big glass windows. It’s an alternative to going to a crowded coffee shop.
I’ve actually dined at Beeffalo San Juan twice already. The first time, I was invited to have lunch with the owners, and for the second time, we went back on our own. It’s the Manila branch of the Beeffalo by Hotrocks in Marikina. Beeffalo by Hotrocks Marikina is famous for their ribs and steaks, and the popularity was fueled by word of mouth. It started out as a backyard barbecue / party that owners Louie and Girlie Abad frequently held in their home, inviting friends and relatives. Their guests liked the food so much that Louie eventually decided to open a restaurant, and that was how the husband and wife team started their restaurant business.
Note: most of the photos were from my first visit a few months ago right before Halloween
Here are some of the dishes I was able to try during my visits. They have appetizers, soups, pizzas, steaks, pork, chicken and seafood, sandwiches and burgers, pasta, and dessert.
Beeffalo Wings (P260) – there are 2 flavors available – 1) Beeffalo Wings served with a Blue Cheese Dip (right side), and 2) Original Buffalo Style with a sweet and spicy sauce (left side). I liked the one with the sweet and spicy sauce better, but I still liked both.
Broccoli Cheese Soup (P145) – Want to get some broccoli in your diet but you’re not a fan of broccoli? You probably won’t mind it so much when it’s made into a thick soup with lots of cheese 🙂 I liked it.
Garlic and Mushroom Pizza (P180)
Margherita Pizza (P185)
The pizzas were served hot and have thin crusts, which I like much better than thick crust pizzas. I get to taste more of the pizza toppings and I enjoyed the pizzas.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken (P265) – crispy seasoned breading, tender chicken 🙂 can’t go wrong with this
Chicken Barbecue with Java Rice (P235):
This is a full rack of the Baby Back Ribs (P825), they are also available in single serving with Java Rice (P345):
The ribs seemed a bit drier than I expected. I’ll have to come back another time and order it again to see if it’s better, since they are reputably one of the bestsellers from the original Beeffalo branch.
Porterhouse Steak (450g, P725; it’s also available in 250g, P475):
Breakfast Steak (P245):
As for the beef dishes I was able to try, I found them a little bit “malitid” on some parts, but the Porterhouse was generally tender and delicious even so.
The Breakfast Steak was strongly seasoned with spices, especially black pepper. Some people might like it this way. Personally, I was expecting something seasoned along the lines of bistek tagalog, while this was more along the lines of a pepper steak. It was okay, just not what I expected.
I enjoyed the steak sauce, and even asked for refills. The steak sauce was not too sour, not too strong, nor too sweet. It struck a nice balance between those tastes.
For dessert, I liked the Dulce de Leche Cheesecake (P165), although it is a bit too sweet. I still finished the entire slice on both visits though 🙂 It would be good to pair with a black coffee (no sugar). The cheesecake portion is a compact base of sweetness and cheese, and is topped with a lot of whipped cream. Then it is drizzled with some caramel. Sweet, but couldn’t stop eating it 🙂
They also have a Brazo de Mercedes (P125), which was okay, but I’m a brazo purist – I like my Brazo de Mercedes meringue made without gelatin. The meringue here had a different texture than what I like, and I suspect that some gelatin was added to keep the meringue more stable. Other than that, it was good.
I like that the restaurant is easy to go to – parking is available in front and parking is easy. The place does not look intimidating nor pricey. It has a relaxed vibe, but it’s clean and bright.
The food is casual, like something you would expect to find at a friend’s house if they were having a family get-together or something. Just go in expecting a family-style place, and not gourmet fare, and you’ll be fine. Of the dishes that I was able to try, the one that I like most is the Porterhouse Steak, cooked medium. I liked their steak sauce. My second favorite would be the sweet & spicy Beeffalo Wings.
They’re not about pushing the envelope when it comes to dishes and flavors – the food here seems to have been chosen based on what most people will like, and I think that most people will enjoy the food. Presentation is nice, with fresh vegetables on the side.
Will I be coming back to Beeffalo? Probably, because it’s close to home with easy parking. The food, while more than acceptable, doesn’t excite me too much, but I would much rather hang out at Beeffalo than at a crowded, noisy coffee shop. You’ll be able to catch up with friends here and be noisy laughing at each other’s stories, which you probably won’t be able to do at the crowded coffee chains. The place has rustic touches but it’s clean and bright and new. The food is good enough to satisfy you if you’re not looking for anything complicated. I would order a coffee and a Dulce de Leche Cheesecake in the afternoon to either work or catch up with a friend. I guess I see the place more as a neighborhood hangout 🙂
I find their pricing on the standard side. But for me, the biggest draw of the place is really their location and easy parking. The location seems out of the way, but actually isn’t. During our second visit, we saw more than a few people stop by for a quick bite, and some even just to take out food. If I had to guess, I would say these people were driving home or going somewhere, and were looking for a quick place to eat or buy food to take home, that wasn’t fast food, and had easy parking. In recent times, easy parking has become such a big draw for me that I would forego stopping at restaurants that were troublesome to go to in terms of parking. In my opinion, the easy access nature of Beeffalo San Juan, being en route to many destinations, with quick and easy parking, is such a convenience for customers who frequently pass by the area or live nearby.
The only issue I have with it is that I hope they assign someone to help customers park, and have signage or something to make it obvious to passing vehicles that the place is indeed very much open for business 🙂 Even during our second visit, when we arrived, I was wondering if the place was open because there was no guard standing outside, and none of the staff came out to welcome us while we parked. I’m not asking for this just for the sake of being demanding, but it really does help put customers at ease, especially since we still were not sure if the place was open. No other cars were parked at the time. Someone coming out to help with parking or encouraging us to come in would definitely dissipate our apprehensions about the place being closed. I am sure other people who drive by Beeffalo were also wondering about it, and having someone outside encouraging them to stop and try the restaurant would be a good boost for business. I know the owners are all about wanting Beeffalo to be a “hidden gem” type of restaurant, but this is just my suggestion on how they can draw in some of the traffic passing in front of them. 🙂
Beeffalo by Hotrocks San Juan
#135 Hoover Street, Addition Hills, San Juan
Contact: +632 636 5571
Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11am – 10pm
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