Review: Guerrilla Street Food

The popular Filipino restaurant has opened a new spot, its fourth, in The Loop, just a couple of blocks east of Skinker Boulevard. The roomy storefront is the largest of them all, much bigger than the original Grand Boulevard spot, and it has a more upscale ambience. For one thing, you’re not sitting on top of other diners; for another, the menu is considerably bigger, making the place feel less fast-casual and more sit-down dining.

As at the Grand location, the menu is noticeably pork-centric, with a fair number of vegetarian dishes. Chicken and seafood are scarce, and only a couple of beef offerings are available. The flavors are on the Asian side, utilizing oyster, fish and soy sauces, coconut milk and jasmine rice. We started with some of the new dishes not available on Grand: Salted Duck Egg Toast, Lumpia Hubad and Kinilaw. The toast ($6) was reminiscent of bruschetta, but with Asian flavors. A thick slice of Union Loafers bread is spread with the rich yolk of a duck egg and topped with the chopped whites, slivers of red onion and fish sauce. The Lumpia Hubad ($4) was good as a serving of two lettuce cups filled with slivered veggies and fresh flavors: garlic, jicama, mint and peanut sauce were the highlights of these guilt-free Asian ‘rolls.’

The Kinilaw ($8), a sliced scallop dish, was less successful and more like a plate of fussy ingredients. What amounted to one scallop, thinly sliced, came with slivered watermelon radish, mango and ‘crab fat emulsion,’ an orange puree with good flavor. A few rice crackers with black sesame sat on the plate, as well as a spicy sauce of coconut milk mixed with vinegar. The star of the night was a fairly traditional udon dish, Pancit Udon ($9), a generous plateful of the thick, meaty noodles tossed with plenty of oil and soy sauce and dotted with cabbage, carrots and delicious squid balls. Beef Mechado ($8 or $10) from the old menu resembles beef stew in a somewhat bland tomato paste base.

For a remarkably filling and tasty dinner, try Crispy Pata ($10), a large serving of pork shank, braised and very well-crisped, sitting in a creamy puree of garlic confit. The meat was delicious (but baked very dry), and an accompanying pile of fermented cucumbers, onions and peppers added a little variety. Don’t miss the vegetable sides listed along the bottom of the menu. Most are peculiar and tempting, especially for the more adventurous diner, like Spicy Dillis ($3), a serving of dried and spiced anchovies, and Mango with Bagoong ($3), fruit with fermented seafood paste. My favorite was the Adobong Sitaw ($5), a delicious saute of fresh green beans and shiitake mushrooms. For the perfect end-of-meal treat, try Ube Taho, a sweet ‘drink’ of coconut milk, house-made tofu, tapioca pearls and jam—delicious!

amuse bouche 
the scene | Casual Filipino eatery
the prices | $3-$8 starters, $7-$10 entrees
the chef | Heidi Hamamura
the favorites | Pancit Udon, Salted Duck Egg Toast, Adobong Sitaw, Ube Taho, Crispy Pata

food • ŏ • lō • gy
jicama | Crisp, edible tuber native to Central America that dates back to pre-Columbian times
ube jam | A Filipino dessert made from boiled and mashed purple yams
pork shank | A cut of meat from the lower leg of the pig that is very tasty when slow-cooked using a low, braising temperature

the dish | tapsilog: Beef tapa, garlic fried rice, one-hour egg, atchara

6120 delmar blvd. | 314.529.1328