I'm recovering from yes, TWO artery-clogging but delicious dinners at Gerry's Grill in Union City. We went with a friend on Saturday night & with my parents Sunday night. I was expecting something totally different, more like a turo-turo (steam table) type set-up. My friend describes it as "Chili's" meets Filipino food. The decor is modern and low-lit, with an indoor water feature & dark woods. There is a full bar separate from the main dining area. But on to the food... For me, the star of the show was the pork BBQ on a stick: 3 sticks per order at $6.99. The pork was lean & tender, with no big chunks of fat threaded on the stick, good caramelization without being over-charred, a good balance of tang with sweet. Ask for the garlic infused vinegar for dipping. The night we went with my friend, we also ordered the Gerry's Grill Fried Chicken which comes w/fries; and the (fried) Adobo Flakes. The chicken was merely standard. I wish the Adobo Flakes were more like tiny pieces of abobo flaked (like my Lola's!); this version was more shredded & chewy rather than crispy. The garlic fried rice had a good hit of garlic and wasn't too greasy. As soon as I told my parents about our first night at Gerry's they wanted to go too. We ordered the BBQ on a stick again; the Grilled Squid; Lechon Kawali (fried!); Crispy Beef Ribs (fried!); Bicol Express & more garlic (fried!) rice. My parents were disappointed in the Bicol Express. They noted the lack of gabi leaves which they tell me is integral to the dish. Gerry's version had chopped green bell peppers, coconut milk, pork. My dad said it had too much meat - the original is supposed to be most vegetables. The Lechon Kawali (belly) was fried to perfection with not too much fat, a tad bit on the salty side. The Crispy Beef Ribs were prepared with the same cut of beef used in a Filipino dish called sinigang. The beef, still on the bone, is first boiled to tenderize, then fried (!), served with a sweet soy dipping sauce. The grilled squid rings were good, glazed with a soy/sugar mixed and not overdone to rubberiness.
Since Gerry's Grill has 20 locations in the Philippines, this first US location runs like a well-oiled machine. The two meals reminded me of the food I grew up on, and definitely hit the spot. Gerry's would be a place I would bring someone who's never had Filipino food, as it provides a larger than usual selection & good introduction. The only thing is a lot of dishes are deep fried (its the cuisine) and as a result I'll need to eat healthy the rest of the week. I've never been to Tribu so I can't compare; but the 'rents say Tribu is a totally different experience.