Sunday, September 24, 2006

I couldn't decide which one is the best among the small plates of asian fusion dishes we ordered that night. Is it the crunchy 'chili crusted calamari', the fresh 'lettuce cups', the tasty 'glazed pork short ribs', the juicy 'seared scallops' or the decadent 'lava cake'?

When I called Betelnut to make a reservation, I was told that 10p is the next available table for four. The voice on the other end of the line suggested that walk-ins can eat at the bar and that the wait, if there is any, could be from 30 to 45 mins. I learned it gets pretty crowded on Friday evenings so the earlier we get there, the shorter the wait. I called my aunt right away to relay to her the message. We agreed that 6p is probably a good time to meet.

The Salvadoran and I got there first and we were seated at once. Perhaps we got one of the only few tables available for walk-in guests because we passed by rows of empty tables as we followed the hostess. My aunt and her husband waved at us as soon as they spotted us. I had never been to this restaurant so I didn't know what to expect although I heard a lot of things about it especially on the noise level and the $$$ department. Another thing I noticed is that the place reeks of attitude. It must be a Marina neighborhood kind of thing.

The group across from our table looked like they're regulars here and they gave us the impression that they are enjoying their food so we decided to order a couple of items that they had ordered. My aunt suggested we share 3 or 4 small plates which turned out to be great as it encouraged engaging conversations. By 7p, I could tell the restaurant have filled up because our normal chats have turned into small shouting matches. I had to yell to be heard because the noise level inside the restaurant goes high during dinner hours.

In the end, the winner that evening was the perfect chemistry of the drinks, the small plates, and the stories shared on our table. I would go back again, that is, after I tried all the other restaurants scattered around the city. What I would do again is have another dinner with my aunt and her husband and take them to our side of town next time. We'll go to Delfina's, perhaps?

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