Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
My friend testing Mighty Quinn's signature barbecue sauce


The restaurant chain that started as a food festival stand in one of the boroughs of New York City is now in Manila. Mighty Quinn's recently opened at the 3rd level of SM Megamall's Fashion Hall and I trooped to the unconventional barbecue joint with a couple of my buddies for lunch one random weekday. Looking like an indoor beer hall, the fast-casual format of the restaurant is designed to match the type of food that barbecue is about -- smoked on demand for well-kept juice that's not wasted on the cutting board. And you can actually see the whole spectacle upon ordering as you're required to step up to the carving station to commence it, point to a meat of your choice, and order a side or two. This quick-serve setting is something that its pitmaster, Chef Hugh Mangum, envisioned for his slow-smoked barbecue -- high quality food sans the pomp of a full-table service. At the site, the 'cue is the focus.

We easily brought our order of the Brisket to our table upon paying at the register, cafeteria-style, and had to wait in our seats for 15 minutes for the Spare Ribs. The waiting had us testing on the Brisket the restaurant's signature barbecue sauce which Chef Mangum calls as Texalina -- a tomato-based sauce that's spiked with vinegar and mustard. If you're not into the whole sweet-sour-bitter taste combo like my buddies are, you may want to pour less of the sauce on your order. In my case, it was something that I did -- slather some of that sauce on a slice I tore into -- but only whenever I had to chug on my order of beer. The taste contrast somehow worked for me and not for them because they ordered iced tea for drinks.

Satisfied barbecue lovers
Order at the carving station
Testing Mighty Quinn's with my Dubai-based friend, John Ahmer Toledo
If you're looking for your next dining hangout in SM Megamall, here are three reasons why Mighty Quinn's is an easy 'cue-tastic choice:

Reason 1: Pitmaster Hugh Mangum Is The Rock Star of New York-style Barbecues

Chef Hugh Mangum
Seldom does the brains behind the food hog the limelight as the food itself. With Mighty Quinn's, the big picture shows both the pitmaster and his grilled creations. It's difficult to separate the two as Chef Hugh Mangum has invested so much of himself in everything that the restaurant is about.

A French Culinary Institute graduate, he learned the basics of barbecue as a kid from his father who grew up himself learning the Southern craft in Texas where the first barbecue state dinner in the US is known to have happened. His fondest memories of Houston are those that involve spending time with his dad over barbecue. He is also a past champion on “Chopped", a popular cooking competition program on Food Network where chefs compete with each other by turning baskets of mystery ingredients into a three-course meal.

Chef Hugh's belief that patience and a good fire make for a great barbecue is apparent in the taste of his restaurant's slow-smoked meats. This is why his first brick-and-mortar store that remained opened to long lines in 2012 soon spawned four more locations two years later.

The quick-serve setting also works for families.
Beef Brisket
Spare Ribs
Reason 2: The Brisket and Spare Ribs Will Leave You Satisfied

Carved right before the customer
When ordering at the carving station, you'll have to choose from the meat choices which include Brisket, Burnt Ends, Pulled Pork, Sausage, Spare Ribs (pork), Brontosaurus Ribs (beef) and Chicken Wings.

For having the most rave reviews online, we ordered the Brisket which saved us the trouble of having to miss a banner option. It came with red onion, celery, chili and other garnishes. Smoked for up to 22 hours (the longest time intended for the line of meats), it's definitely the most difficult meat part to cook. The result, however, is an easy winner in terms of taste. The slices are consistently supple and beefy thanks to the blend of oak, apple and cherry wood used in the smoking process. The texture and sealed-in juices had us convinced that the meat is smoke-kissed and not smoke-swallowed.

"It's deeply smoky and has a hint of interesting salty finish to the ribs which worked well with its slightly sweet glaze."

Our other order of Spare Ribs also stood out in taste. It's deeply smoky and has a hint of interesting salty finish to the ribs which worked well with its slightly sweet glaze. As for the meat, it's so tender that we didn't have to use a knife to tear into it.

The restaurant wall says it all.
The signature barbecue sauce of Mighty Quinn's

Reason 3: The Sides Are Interesting For Being Not Typical

Since the meat options are so streamlined, it was easy to have a hoot ordering our choice of sides. We had Burnt-end Baked Beans and Sweet Potato Casserole to make our meal interesting since these two are not the typical sides being offered in Filipino restaurants anyway. Both were filling. Foreign customers and locals who have dined abroad can definitely appreciate these side options.

"Foreign customers and locals who have dined abroad can definitely appreciate these side options."

I've previously dined solo at the restaurant and loved my order of Buttermilk Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Almonds, so it's something that I also highly recommend you order. It's the side that will likely satisfy the Pinoy palate. I also enjoyed my dessert of the Bread Pudding, a vanilla ice cream-topped banana pudding.

To make our meal extras complete, we ordered Dirty Rice and a small bowl of fresh-cut fries which were both a fancy complement to the heavyweight orders.

These three reasons are hopefully enough to convince you that a visit of Mighty Quinn's is worth your time. Here's to hoping that your upcoming meal at the restaurant is going to be as tasty as ours!

Fresh-cut fries
Bread Pudding dessert

Photography By Michael Gracer

Mighty Quinn's Philippines

Official website of Mighty Quinn's
Official Mighty Quinn's PH Facebook fan page

Address: 3rd Level, SM Megamall Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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