This place has closed.
I don’t usually don’t write restaurant reviews but I found a place worthy of blogging about. The restaurant is called J.A.C., which stands for Juan dela Cruz Asian Cuisine in Pacifica, California. My family and I happened to show up the same day they opened and we were all enthusiastically impressed at every moment we were there.
Since it was our first time there, we ordered more than what a normal family would order (I’m training future foodie bloggers). I had to sample a little bit of everything. To our surprise, the portions were huge. I was expecting small portions considering the low prices. At J.A.C. you can easily feed a family for $15-$20.
Here’s what we ordered:
Sabaw ni Juan
Miki Bihon ni Juan
B.I.C. (Banana, ice cream w/chocolate)
The Lumpiang Shanghai was rolled together nicely (see the picture above). There was a delicate taste at every bite. I’ve been to several restaurants where the skin was chewy and the filling was gritty. I’m not sure how they did it but the outside was crisp and the filling had a really great texture. I could tell they used top of the line ingredients to make their Lumpiang Shanghai.
Normally, braising pig ears and tofu makes Tokwa’t Baboy. J.A.C. created a variation of this dish that fits my palette. First of all, they prepared the tofu separate from the pork by deep-frying the tofu. The pork wasn’t ears but braised pork belly. Here’s the cool thing about this dish. There’s texture at each bite. You have the crunchy tofu and the soft pork belly.
Sabaw ni Juan is a new dish for me. Actually, this is probably a good time for me to explain the Juan part of the dish. You’ll find all over their menu “ni Juan.” All this means is that it’s their special dish. Sabaw means soup and for this special dish, it combines beef, shrimp, and Bangus belly. This soup is special. Aside from the 3 types of meat, you also get green vegetables and potatoes. Oh, here’s the kicker, the dish is also cooked with banana. My mom always told me, if they add banana, it’s special. For those who don’t understand the banana portion, the banana actually helps tenderize the meats.
I was craving noodles so I ordered the Miki Bihon ni Juan. This is a combination of egg and rice noodles. This special noodle dish was a little over the top for me. I think it was only because I had 3 bowls of Sabaw ni Juan. Miki Bihon ni Juan has it all–vegetables, squid, chicken, dried fish, and fish cake. It is really special including the size of the portion.
The kids insisted on ordering B.I.C. I like their take on this dish. Ice cream served in a tortilla shell with bananas and chocolate. You can’t go wrong with that.
Many restaurants have tried to do different things with Filipino dishes. I’ve tasted many avant-garde dishes and I always seem to regret it. Oh, I don’t like fusion Filipino dishes. At J.A.C., there’s a little new and old in every dish. For me, what makes this place great is the combination of flavors and textures. They take what normally has a single texture and produced an explosion at every bite. There is a sense of special preparation that goes into every dish. I mean, someone really thought about each dish from how to present the dish to the taste to how it will feel on the tongue. They definitely bring Filipino food to a whole new level.
Give them a visit:
J.A.C. Juan dela Cruz Asian Cuisine
713 Hickey Blvd.
Pacifica, CA 94015
(Directly across Lucky)