Chef Bruce Ricketts may have risen the ranks from unassuming talent to culinary prodigy through his quaint Japanese degustacion, Sensei Sushi, and then through his subsequent forays into modern Asian cuisine, but his first love is and will always be Mexican food. Whether conscious or not, you can see how this influences his cooking—from his taco-inspired temaki in Ooma to the lobster and kanburi tostada in Mecha Uma.
Now, the humble chef is making another dream come true (ours, not his) with the impending opening of his long-awaited La Chinesca, a cozy taqueria at 268 Aguirre Avenue, Parañaque.
Fans of the chef shouldn't be surprised. Chef Bruce has already teased La Chinesca twice: holding his first pop-up in Mecha Uma in June 2015 then again a month later.
The final menu (if there ever is a final menu where this prolific chef is concerned) has completely changed from those temporary outings. What can be counted on, of course, is a bold assault of tastes. We're expecting some tweaks before that elusive opening date, but here are some of the things you can look forward to:
Salmon Aguachile: Underneath those crispy golden discs are cubes of salmon, scallions, chili, red onions, eggplant, and sesame cream. The spicy-tart profile is perfect for ceviche lovers.
The Huachinango: battered fish (this one's a snapper) with cabbage, salsa fresca, burnt garlic cream, and salsa macha. For extra heat, lather on the homemade chili sauce thoughtfully ready on every table.
A little meal on its own, the Guisada de Res comes with stewed beef shoulder, lengua, bell peppers, rice, and pinipig.
It's easy to predict that this will be a bestseller because, well, who doesn't love beef tacos? Hanging tender, rajas and esquites are the components of this stunning Carne Asada.
Another crowdpleaser (done in that bold Bruce Ricketts style), the Carnitas is a gourmet approach to good ol' pork tacos. The pork is confit, with bean puree, pickled onions, and roasted pineapple.
You don't see goat tacos often, so La Chinesca makes the Chivo worth your while. The goat cooked on a griddle then paired with jicama, daikon, sesame, and salsa verde—all bright components to really lift up the deep flavors of the cabra.
Beef intestines, watermelon, chile de arbol, onions, and cilantro make up the Tripitas. Texture is the king here: chewy, fatty, juicy with a light crispness from the homemade masa tortilla. Offal isn't always a popular choice, but that meaty flavor will win over any skeptic.
Because nothing beats comfort in a bowl, behold the Carne Asada Rice.
These aren't your everyday stuffed tortillas. Each La Chinesca taco is a demonstration of balance—from the flavor to the texture to how you feel from the first to the last bite—and dedication. You can tell that each protein is carefully marinated to draw out maximum flavors; the intense sauces are homemade to fully bring out the intentions of every combination. There's generosity there, too. The tortillas can barely contain the overloaded amount of filling that the kitchen lavishly throwns on. La Chinesca's tacos are a messy affair and we can't wait.