TUS is a two-storey restaurant in Westgate Center. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA -- When best friends Maricar Sason and Chef Krsna Algenio decided to open a restaurant, they wanted a place where customers can feel relaxed, while enjoying and sharing hearty dishes with their loved ones.
And that’s exactly what they accomplished with TUS Clay Pots and Skillets, which just celebrated its first anniversary last month.
From the welcoming staff to the cozy atmosphere, TUS definitely puts guests at ease. The two-storey restaurant gives off a homey vibe, thanks to the combination of stone and wood in the interiors, the high ceiling and loving details, like the framed softball uniforms of the two owners from high school.
Perhaps that’s how they like it in Alabang.
“We believe that here in Alabang most of the people love to go to places where they will feel at home, where they can enjoy their meal,” explained Sason.
“They are family-oriented. They love eating out with their family or with their group of friends,” she added.
Best friends Maricar Sason and Krsna Algenio. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com
Sason and Algenio grew up in Alabang and when they were planning the restaurant, they knew right away it has to be in the south.
“Alabang is our hometown. This is the place we grew up. It feels home,” Sason said.
TUS started when they both resigned from their jobs in April 2013. Sason is a professional accountant and felt she knew enough in starting up a business. Algenio, on the other hand, is really a chef, having worked in Singapore and Korea.
“We thought we will be a great team for a resto,” recalled Sason. “Plus we are best of friends. It’s not true that friends should never have a business together; true friends should!”
More than the friendship, Sason is also a great fan of Algenio’s culinary talent. “I loved Krsna's cooking. Her talent should never be kept within her family and friends; her talent should be shared to everyone!”
What to order
Spinach dip. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com
In line with the profile of the Alabang market, the menu at TUS features familiar Western favorites from pizzas to steaks.
Kick off your TUS experience with the delicious Spinach Dip (P220) or the creamy and not-at-all-spicy Jalapeno Croquettes (P150) served with a winning cheese sauce, which can certainly put you in the right mood for an easy, casual meal.
These two dishes definitely sets the food mood on what to expect, which are basically dishes that are uncomplicated and likeable.
Wet Beef Burrito. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com
The Wet Beef Burrito (P370), which is among the restaurant’s bestsellers, is a good choice for a light main course, with its lively Tex-Mex flavors.
BLT Calzone. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com
On the opposite end is the gigantic BLT Calzone (P430), an Americanized version of the Italian dish, with the bacon, lettuce and tomato stuffed into the folded pizza, which definitely begs to be shared, especially if you want to leave room in your stomach for at least dessert – which you must.
Pot pies. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com
TUS is also known for its pot pies, which is something like a personal-sized deep-dish pizza. These come in various flavors, like the classic Margherita, the House Sausage and the table-favorite Chicken Ranch, which again puts an American spin on an international favorite.
Steaks and cakes
Naturally, one expects steaks in a place like TUS. While a lot of the dishes come in large portions, the steaks, which are served in ceramic skillets with your choice of corn or potatoes, are perfectly sized and priced.
Herbed butter steak. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com
For instance, the Spicy Lemon Pesto is priced at only P630, while the Herbed Butter is just a touch cheaper at P620. Interesting flavors and very straightforward, you definitely get what you pay for.
But the star of the meal at TUS are the desserts. In particular, guests have been raving about the Half Baked Cookie (P160), which is basically a large chewy chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream on the side.
Half Baked Cookie. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com
The sweetness isn’t too cloying and the textural and hot-and-cold contrast is comforting.
In fact, when TUS marked its first anniversary, it slashed the price of this dessert to only P99 as a way to treat their guests – a gesture that surely will be appreciated by those who love American-style comfort food.
“We are just happy that our guests have supported us throughout our first year that we wanted to give back to them,” Sason said, promising that there will be more promos in store this year, starting with a “dish of the month.”
“Our first year was an enjoyable crazy ride,” she continued. “Our whole team still had to learn a lot and I think we will still continue to learn. There were times that we had disappointed guests, and this would make us feel bad and all, but this also made us strive to be better. And there were a lot of times, we are happy to say, that our guests were just so happy that it makes us feel that we are on the right track.”
TUS is not a destination restaurant that one would drive a long way to just to try but if you are already in the area and want to eat like a local, so to speak, TUS is definitely worth a visit – even just for dessert.
TUS Clay Pots and Skillets
Westgate Center, Filinvest City