Saturday, April 14, 2007

Massimo's

I’ve been wanting to write about Massimo’s for a long time, so when my work once more took me to Tagaytay, I had little trouble convincing my wife to come with me so we could sample its cuisine.

Massimo is run by a husband and wife team, the restaurant has an Italian theme, the wife, Hazel Lu Galvez having trained in Italy. The restaurant is located a short distance from the main ridge road, halfway between the Tagaytay rotunda and Taal Vista Lodge.

Massimo’s located on the second floor of tall, imposing house; the smell of baking bread greeting you as make your way up the stairs (definitely not senior-friendly, though.)

Oh, by the way, if you notice me speaking in the present tense, it’s because I’m experimenting with bringing the laptop with us while we try out new places, so as to be able to immediately translate what goes on from the palate to paper.

We ordered a medley of prosciutto ham and bread for appetizers, creamed spinach soup for me and tomato basil soup for Jen. We are going to share their (pricey but expensive) salad with foie gras, then Jen will have the Russian Sea Bass and I will have the Angus Tenderloin! Mwahahahaa!

The prosciutto came and went, but not without a fight. There was a good-sized platter of it, only fitting since it cost P295. The soups were dead on. The tomato basil soup is so good (such sweet basil!) you will want to order more. The spinach soup was very fresh and tasty.

Then the salad came. I’ve had this before, and my advice to you is – if you can afford it, don’t even think of sharing it! The foie gras was perfect, as always: just barely crispy outside, rich and creamy on the inside. The salad greens, as they often are in Tagaytay, tasted like they were picked just before they were served to us.

The entrees came. Jen’s seabass was decent, tasty, but had too many bothersome bones. The steak, on the other hand, was a revelation. Unlike most tenderloin that was all about being tender and not enough flavor in their loins, this one had flavor coming out of every tender morsel. This was as good as any steak I’ve had in this country, served in a mild pepper sauce, I recommend it to anyone willing to shell out the P1,000 bucks for a slice of meat-lover’s heaven.

Dessert, for its part, did not disappoint. Our set menu came with a generous slice of strawberry shortcake and fresh mint tea. And, get this, the chef makes her own gelato! Bless her little heart! I quickly settled for an order of peanut butter gelato (not a very common flavor), and was immediately overcome by its creamy gooey goodness. I’ve had peanut butter ice creams in my time, and this Italian twist is as good as any I’ve ever tasted.

Boy, do I love gelato! Remind me to tell you about the time when we were honeymooning in Tuscany, I made it a point to stop by the local gelateria in every town the bus stopped. The kids in our tour group knew that if they just followed me I’d lead them to the nearest handy ice cream store. But that’s for another story.

Anyway, back to the present. Our meal at Massimo’s was one of our more memorable ones to date. Nice ambiance, excellent food. It’s small; out of the way restaurants like these that make going out to eat worth it. I highly recommend it to any food lovers who find themselves looking for sustenance in Tagaytay.