The Fiesta Grill and Restaurant is a buffet that serves up a huge variety of hot, home-cooked Philippine dishes. Located at 655 Newark Ave., the restaurant has stellar lunch specials, a choice between rice or pancit with two sides for $4.95 or one side for $3.75. There are a lot of sides to choose from and I am including photos of just some of the many interesting dishes they offer.
There are a lot of fishy dishes.
After inhaling a french cruller for breakfast, I was hungry for some fibrous roughage. The friendly staff offered me two samples of tender meat dishes that were ridiculously delicious. However, I wanted to avoid another meat and carb only lunch. I settled on a heaping plate of Pancit with a side of colorful vegetables.
The Pancit consisted of thin noodles, and small pieces of vegetables and meat stir-fried together. It was similar to Chinese lo mein and very tasty.
The vegetable dish included eggplant, squash, green beans, okra, and a vegetable I had never heard of before. The okra was suspiciously squid-like!
I had tried Philippine food before and remembered enjoying everything except for a pesky vegetable I kept encountering. I thought there was something wrong with it, that maybe it had gone bad. Nope, it was just a bitter melon. The waiter informed me that it is actually very good for diabetes. Something this putrid has to be healthy.
I decided to reap the benefits of the melon even though it was so distasteful it was hard to swallow. I took a deep breath, shoved the melon in my mouth and chewed as quickly as possible. I discovered that the softer they were the less bitter they tasted. Thankfully, the sauce was flavorful and the slimy mix of vegetables turned out to be quite enjoyable.
To wash down the Bitter Melon, I succumbed to my curiosity and tried the Buko Pandan dessert for $3.50. The chunks of coconut meat (Buko) and the jello like Pandan were drenched in a creamy, sweet coconut milk broth. While savoring this soupy dessert, I couldn’t help but imagine how much better this cool and refreshing treat would be on a hot day in the Philippines as I tried to ignore the snow falling outside my window.
Visit Fiesta Grill’s website for more information.