Filipino food remains an underacknowledged Asian cuisine. Though there are dozens of restaurants serving the island-nation fare across our Valley, none seem as popular as their Chinese, Japanese or Thai brethren—particularly surprising considering English is an official language of the Philippines, making those spots and their menus more approachable than other Far East venues.
The arrival of Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub might help more diners take note. Situated near Lake Mead and the 95, Cutting Board is a Bay Area import—the owners operate a similar concept in South San Francisco—serving Filipino fusion. Unless you’re a Manila native, you’ve probably never had dulong ($8) before. The silver fish—the tiny seafood, not the tinier bug—is shredded in a pair of preparations alongside buttery garlic baguette slices: a saffron-garlic mixture and a dark squid ink rendition. The former is good but lacks flavor distinction from the garlicky bread, but the salinity and complexity of the latter makes for an outstanding contrast. It’s a must-get dish.
Also outstanding is the crispy pork sisig ($12)—crunchy, unctuous porky bits strewn with onions, served with a sunny side-up egg. Cut the richness with a side of the interesting java rice ($6) rife with turmeric and annatto. Another Filipino standard, chicken adobo ($10), could benefit from a hint more vinegar, but its pepperiness is addicting nonetheless. And with each gelatinous bite, the lengthwise-cut femurs deliver a revelation of bone marrow ($10) rivaling more expensive Strip presentations.
Daily grilled street-food offerings ($3) are worth exploring, too. Save room for the bibingka soufflé ($8), which should be ordered early in the meal since it takes a bit of time to prepare. Stuff the sugary, fluffy coconut with the accompanying crumbled white cheese and salted egg—the savory/sweet combo is essential.
The beer offerings are better than average, but the selection doesn’t feel deserving of full “gastropub” status. A San Miguel, the best selling beer in the Philippines, pairs well with any order.
Cutting Board Filipino Gastropub 2131 Rock Springs Drive, 702-233-9828. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.