Filipino Japanese izakaya Gogo’s Room, located on the Lower East Side, contains some original stories. The most romantic relationship with Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines, who had a brief love affair with the daughter of a Japanese samurai, in 1888, during a six-week layover in Japan on his way to the United States (nobody) knows if the two lovebirds discussed merging Their cultural cuisine, though.) Most amazing is actor Adrien Brody, a friend of one of the restaurant’s owners, who I’m told has suggested the Japanese-Filipino fusion at Mani Pacquiao boxing as a way to make Filipino food more accessible to a New York crowd. My favorite story, though, is the simplest: “We wanted to bring Filipino nightlife to the Lower East Side,” twenty-nine-year-old chef Mark Manaluto, who was born in the restaurant, told me. “Good dinner and a party afterwards.”
This helps explain the chaos and playful décor—a silver disco ball and bust of Jose Rizal on the inside, and red lanterns and a cherry blossom booth outside. Gugu Room food is packed with some of these pizzerias’ most exciting, with an extensive a la carte menu that includes items portable enough to carry around on the dance floor.
When I consulted a servant about what to try last night, he didn’t stop before he referred me to the skewers, the memorable pigs. It is customary to give a short neglect to the viscera, but give up You have, or pig ears, at your own risk. In Gugu, slices are soaked in banana ketchup and grilled over binchotan charcoal, imparting their crisp, gel-like exterior with a wink of cartilage on the inside. On the other end of the fabric spectrum is fish, or intestines: crinkly bubbles emitting a wild musk that is inseparable from the primitive umami of the organ. I could have eaten half a dozen skewers if I didn’t want to make room for Longanesa, descendant of the Spanish Chorizo; The aroma and flavor of the meat – smoky and sweet, with notes of paprika and smoked garlic – is expanded by the heat of an open flame.
The most compelling dishes add richness to richness. Gutan language, or beef tongue, soaked in a creamy mushroom broth, seems destined to decompose, but it turns out to be soft, balanced and tasty. Likewise, the short-rib udon with bone marrow, which inspired an anticipation of heartburn, delighted at the first sip; Peppers, fish sauce and white shoyu FoolishThe style broth (traditionally, a heavy Filipino stew of beef with the bone) was more sensual than unstressed. In fact, one of the chosen bites of the entire meal was an inflexible nibble of the generous fork on the bone followed by a spoonful of thick marrow broth, slathered with cubes of cleansing daikon.
If the best things on the menu are the organic feasts of predominantly Filipino inspiration, the less successful dishes taste like compromises on the fusion combo. hen behaviormarinated and grilled, pale and unconvinced, and Ajidashi Tofu, with its tired, latex exterior, tasted like an afterthought.
There are no desserts on the Gugu menu, but there is a great and varied cocktail list that seems designed to prepare you for the after-hours dance ring. One recent evening, while sipping wasabi mar-gari-ta (tequila, calamansi honey, lime, wasabi), I watched a group of twenty-somethings hesitantly find their groove (probably after drinking a decent number of wasabi margaritas) under the disco ball while I was justifying an order of fried intestines as a delicious dessert. Around the room, meat skewers were being delivered at a brisk pace, some enthusiastically waving at cheerful selfie frames. The music was speeding up, and the place was slow if undoubtedly vibrant. It was close to 11 evening When I left – my end fish Spell the end of my night – but the party was just beginning. (Dishes 6-25 USD). ♦