Pablo’s Steaks and Crabs, al fresco fine-dining at its best in GenSan
Since then, this new dining destination along the National Highway in General Santos City with a relaxed garden setting located inside the Paseo del Sol, has become the choice venue of many a wedding, debut, baptismal, diplomatic and other receptions for the more discriminating ones with more than 150 guests.
During a visit one moonless starry night, I and my friend Rachel chose a table under a large tree illuminated with tivoli lights near the outdoor bar. We were in an elevated portion of the ranch-inspired diner. From our semi-discrete location, we could see a group of people dining inside the airconditioned function hall a few meters from us having the time of their lives. An acoustic pair were serenading them, their well-blended voices wafting unto our side of the large compound of Paseo del Sol.
The one thing which still tickles my fancy every time I visit Pablo’s is the giant menu (19 inches x 26 inches) which is the biggest this side of the world. At that visit, while approving of the food suggested to us by Manager Nestor Paras, I was pointing out to my dinner companion the colorfully drawn artwork designed by Marketing Head Paolo Sunglao, son of the owners Pablo and Sol, of the adjacent Ranchero Grill.
Front Page of the Menu designed by Paolo Sunglao
Inside Pages of Pablo’s Steaks and Crab’s Menu
Eventually, for starters, we tried and shared the Insalata del Sol. Insalata which means “salad” in Italian is a delightful toss of green lettuce, ripe mangoes, grapes and herbed chicken with fruit dressing. The croutons were crunchy, the leaves were crispy, with the dressing giving everything just the right sweetness to them that we finished these appetizers in a jiffy.
Insalata del Sol
Next we had our individual servings of steaming Clam Chowder, which was creamy clam souped served in a bread bowl. I immediately finished my share and would have eaten all of the bread if not for the next item which was served before us.
This was a piece of King Crab cooked the way we preferred it, in olive oil and garlic, lots of it. My God! The crab was in its purest state of perfection, having come from Surigao, with so much white meat. When dipped in either the grape wine vinegar sourced from Pablo’s farm or in the lemon-butter dip, you could literally see our eyes squint with each bite.
King Crab, cooked in olive oil and garlic with grape wine vinegar dip and lemon-butter dip
Since the crab was very rich in oil, we had to wash it off in Pablo’s very own blend of Dragonfruit Juice. Dragonfruit or “pitaya” is a large red fruit native to Asia. It was our first time to try it and it tasted like guava, but less sweet and more fragrant. It was very refreshing, to say the least. We found out that night that the Sunglao’s have also started harvesting this plant together with Honey Dew from their own farm.
For the main course, Rachel and I settled for nothing less than the US Angus Beef Steak, prepared Ranch Style, which was quite a treat since it was cooked right before our eyes.
The imported US Angus Beef, sliced and waiting to be cooked. Beside it is the plateful steamed veggie sidings and sweet corn.
We both wanted our steaks done “MEDIUM-WELL” that Miko, our waiter only cooked it in olive oil in less than two minutes. It came out so tender and juicy to my taste that I forgot what my name was for about a few seconds.
Miko, our waiter cooking our US Angus beef steak, Ranch Style at our table
Through it all, we did not order and eat any rice. Instead we had their gourmet bread which is Rosemary bread served with Herbed Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. When I first tasted a piece of the bread after dipping it in the special sauces, I then realized that its sweet and sour outcome was the perfect foil to the rich and heavy main dishes.
Rosemary Bread, ready to be dipped in herbed olive oil and balsamic vinegar
We could hardly move after this succulent feast but we still have to try the dessert we ordered earlier, called by its mysterious name, DESSERT SAMPLER. When it finally arrived, we were overjoyed to find that it was a combination of mouthful-sizes of Pavlova, a meringue topped with fruits; Molten Cheese; Blue Cheesecake and Cream Brulee, a lovely end to our fulfilling royal meal.
The sinful Dessert Sampler: Pavlova, Molten Cheese, Blue Cheesecake and Cream Brulee
And yes, as an additional treat, the servers and cooks of Pablo’s Steaks and Crabs performed a latino dance number midway into the night, making it an even more unforgetable evening for us and the rest of their satisfied diners.
Pablo’s Steaks and Crabs Dancing Cooks and Waiters