A taste of New York comfort in BGC
The Bowery doesn't wave around a theme. It is, if you look at it from the outside, your everyday corner cafe. The type that is noncommittal in its approach, except that it ironically banks on the loyalty of the neighborhood to get it going. Chef Cuit Kaufman defines it as New York comfort food, that is, it is variable. The point of the entire New York dining scene, after all, has always been an elevated sense of what is good, no matter the origin, location, or even time of day.
Like its sister restaurants Borough, Nolita, and LES Bagels, The Bowery pays homage to New York. The 38-year-old chef is a Manhattan native himself and was educated at the French Culinary Institute on Broadway. Chef Cuit had a string of gigs working in kitchens at the Meatpacking District. “I was part of the scene, I also did private caterings and I had my own little chocolate truffle business, but I never had my own restaurant,” he shares.
He visited the Philippines in 2002 upon an invitation from a friend closely connected with folks of Il Ponticello. After exchanging ideas, they quickly partnered up and opened Borough in 2010. Nolita followed in 2012, LES Bagels in 2013, and finally The Bowery in 2014.
The no-nonsense chef is the first to admit that their menu provides the kind of sustenance that “doesn't really challenge the palate." He adds, "It doesn’t make you think too much and it's not very forward." This is true: There is nothing ground-breaking about Bowery’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles nor is there anything particularly original about its Classic Mac n’ Cheese. They're comfort food, sure, but these are the dishes that remain close to heart and top of mind.
Unlike his earlier projects which feature street-side New York favorites, The Bowery features food easily found in New York restaurants. In a way, it's the sum of all the different restaurants that he loved and admired in New York, the restaurants he worked in, and restaurants that he frequented after work, like Cafeteria on 17th Street and 7th Avenue.
He turns his attention to the new Sliced Steak & Gruyere Sandwich. It's directly inspired by Pastis, one of the places he worked in, which also served as a model for The Bowery. “They had a steak sandwich on their menu, too but they put the Gruyere cheese on top,” he says. Chef Cuit’s version comes loaded with arugula between slices of fresh homemade French bread, with aioli and French fries on the side.
Sliced Steak and Gruyere Sandwich
Tuna Puttanesca Farfalle
The Bowery uses Plain Sight beans for their, including the cappuccino. Their cold brew, on the other hand, is from Type A.
“The Chicken Pallaird Salad,” Cuit notes as he scans the menu. “I used to eat that all the time in the middle of the night in New York,” he shares. As one of the original items on The Bowery, its straightforward yet impeccable taste manages to hit the spot after a tough day or a long night. It's this kind of solace that Cuit tries to emulate in every one of his dishes.
Two years on, this fulfillment to cathartic food is reinforced by eight new items. Among them, the Tuna Puttanesca Farfalle is one of Chef Cuit's favorites. It features huge chunks of tuna—“not from the can,” he emphasizes—farfalle pasta and olives, covered in puttanesca sauce (made with organic tomatoes, by the way) and with just the right amount of kick. That it is served in a bowl makes it feel even more like a hug on a cold day.
The brunch special Almond Bostock is a simple piece of homemade brioche bread that's been dipped in almond syrup, slathered with almond cream, sprinkled with almonds, and then baked. There are pieces of fruit on the side, as well as a generous serving of whipped cream that you can wipe off your plate as you wipe away your stress. It looks utterly cloying, but a bite reveals a quality beyond good looks, a delicious reminder of Chef Cuit’s talent in pastry-making. “It isn’t as sweet as you’d expect, right?” he asks in earnest.
The Bowery only uses organic eggs.
Artichoke Feta Dip
The Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwich
It isn’t. But it hits a frequency that will require you to take a moment after a bite, savor the toastiness of the bread, the acidity of the fruit, and the lovely thickness of the cream before reaching for that cup of long black.
This is exactly what they’d like guests to experience when they come into the restaurant: for them to enjoy, maybe forget about everything else, and allow themselves to be wrapped up in the comfortable familiarity of their food.
This purpose, Chef Cuit's desserts and stylized New Yorker food has nearly been eclipsed though. Last year, The Bowery launched an upgraded cocktails list that quickly made the restaurant an after-hours favorite among yuppies, yuccies, and the like.
“In a way, Bowery became known as a bar at night. People tend to forget the dining aspect to it,” co-owner Mikko Santos explains. “We had other issues too like air-conditioning,” Chef Cuit adds sheepishly, “so we needed to remind people of the food.”
Passion Fruit Crème Brulee
On our table mingle old and new dishes: the Media Noche, the Cubano's lesser-known cousin; the famous chocolate chip cookie cereal, the exciting Passion Fruit Ginger Crème Brulee. Chef Cuit never forgets where he's from and with something as spectacular as his Death by Chocolate Cake, we doubt anyone can forget that these guys are serious with their food.
The Bowery is at Forbeswood Heights, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; tel. no. 0936-929-6073, (02) 804-2188.