As we have been wishing to, it came true when we headed and trooped towards the busiest restaurant strip in J.Abad Santos, San Juan. The name of the place - Ristras Mexican Grill. It is a Mexican specialty niche restaurant derived after an art of drying chile pepper pods used primarily as decorative purposes.
Ristras' ambiance is a nonchalant, non-stiff, and non-intimidating dining experience. It is just the kind of casual ambiance that they project to their market, given the surrounding area is not that shrouded with splendor.
In the counter, you could find the framed nomination certificate from the recently held Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secret(MBKRS 2010) as a "Best Specialty Cuisine" but they lost to Cyma Greek Taverna. A losing luster one wouldn't mind as Cyma and Ristras belonged to the same culinary influence of Chef Rob Goco.
They served fresh ingredients Rob Goco himself prides as not having owned a can opener in the store, everything's verdant fresh and slowly cooked to achieve that ultimate Mexican flavor. Not only do they keep that promise, but they even prepare your food upfront. They even have a Man vs Godzilla Burrito promo that invites everyone to eat their 2feet long burrito in just 90min for free, exceeding to that, you have to pay it for something like a thousand bucks.
That day we grab ourselves a Burrito composed of a flour tortilla, a choice of Cilantro-lime rice or Chorizo-brown rice, pinto or vegetarian black beans, red or green chile, corn salsa guacamole, cheese, Mexican spices, sour cream, and romaine lettuce, along with your choice of meat. MobilityReel ordered a Carnitas Burrito(Php330) - a naturally raised pork, seasoned with thyme, bay leaves, orange juice, and freshly cracked black pepper-seared for hours making the taste leaning towards the hot and tangy side. I had myself a Chicken Burrito(Php320) - a chicken marinated for hours using a Jalapena marinade, then grilled to perfection. As if a Burrito larger than my already huge wrist isn't enough, we still order a Quesadilla(Php330) made of flour tortilla, cheese, pico de gallo, corn salsa, meat choice, sautéed peppers, red onions grilled to melting heaven, then served with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. And there were four huge folds of them.
Truly they live by their business philosophy of "cooked slow, done right." Plus the freshest and finest ingredients is topnotch. My advice to people planning to go there: "Trust me, you'd appreciate them more under a hungry stomach."