Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New York Supreme, Angeles City

On our way home from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar on Holy Week, we decided to make a detour and stop by Angeles City, Pampanga to grab some dinner.

A few years ago, C' Italian Dining - also in Angeles - started a panizza craze that has since spread not just across this Pampanga city, but has made its way to Manila. Panizza is basically extra-thin crust pizza that is sliced into long strips. Each slice is meant to be tightly rolled around arugula leaves and alfalfa sprouts, then eaten with a drizzle of pesto sauce. This dish now firmly holds its place in our local dining vocabulary and, as such, has been replicated by many other restaurants and chains across the country.

New York Supreme is one of the newer establishments along McArthur Highway in Balibago, though it is not a new restaurant per se - it recently moved to its current location from another part of the city. It sits next to Mar's Restaurant - a Chinese eatery that has been around for years (I'm told these two restaurants are owned by the same family). As its name suggests, New York Supreme serves classic NYC eats such as pizza and Buffalo wings. They also serve pasta, other entrees and, of course, a selection of panizzas, which they call pizza rolls.

The restaurant's interiors are, for lack of a better description, red - much like the exterior. A high red ceiling towers over simple red walls that are adorned with photos of NYC landmarks and New York Supreme's signature dishes.

We started with some Buffalo wings. There are four pieces to each order, so, being that we were a group of five, I asked for two servings. That turned out to be a bit too much, as NYS serves surprisingly good-sized wings. I frankly didn't like this dish - I love Buffalo wings, but the type I enjoy is the original: simple fried wings that are doused with a mix of butter and Tabasco. NYS' version is breaded and coated in a sweet sauce - it reminded me a bit of Bon Chon chicken, actually. The dip that was served with the wings - usually tangy bleu cheese - was also quite sweet, so this was not at all what I expected. 

We then moved on to pasta, sharing a dish of Pasta Putanesca. The NYS version has linguine tossed in a mixture of marinara sauce, olives and sun dried tomatoes. The amount of pasta sauce was a pleasant surprise - there was just the right amount to flavor the dish without having the pasta swimming in a pool of sauce. This was actually quite flavorful. It had the slight sourness expected of a tomato-based sauce, which was balanced by the saltiness of the olives. What I got extra excited about, however, was the garlic knot that the pasta was served with. Garlic knots are pieces of pizza dough, knotted and dipped in a lot of butter and garlic before baking. This was a mainstay at the pizza place below my old NY office, and it was the perfect partner to a bowl of mushroom soup from the deli next door - that was a meal I used to enjoy once a week (on mushroom soup day, as the deli's soup selection changed daily), so I was looking forward to tasting NYS' garlic knot. Like the wings, this was not what I expected - it was doughy in taste and texture, and there was not nearly enough butter & garlic flavor. I took one bite and set it aside.

Of course, we decided to dine at NYS not for the wings and garlic knots but for the pizza rolls. My parents had taken some back to Manila on a previous trip to Angeles, and our whole family enjoyed NYS' rendition of the cult favorite panizza. What I personally like is how much arugula and alfalfa they serve their pizza rolls with. Being that these are rather expensive greens, other establishments scrimp on the vegetable servings or mix in some lettuce as an arugula extender. No such thing happens at NYS - this is, as far as I can recall, the only restaurant where we have gone through an entire panizza with arugula and alfalfa to spare.

We ordered two pizza rolls for the family.

The first was my pick - the Anchovy Pizza Roll, which had a mixture of anchovies, chopped bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach, all sitting on a three-cheese blend. The pizza roll itself was a bit salty - that is, perhaps, expected of a dish that is peppered with anchovy bits - but the saltiness is muted once you add in some greens, pesto and chili flakes. I know a lot of people are anchovy-averse, but I quite enjoy it myself and, consequently, really liked this dish.

The second was my brother's pick - Shrimp and Mushroom Roll, which had a combination of baby shrimp and chopped mushrooms on NYS' three-cheese blend. This was generously topped, such that every bite had a nice portion of shrimp and mushroom. While the flavors on this pizza roll were not a strong as those in the anchovy roll, this features a classic mix of toppings that would please any pizza enthusiast. As a bonus, the crisp greens and toasted crust add some textural contrast to the tender shrimp and mushroom.

My perfect pizza roll, ready to be eaten -

I also just have to share a photo of NYS' double-decker serving contraption, as this is so 1990's and reminiscent of famous pizza places from that decade. NYS actually serves huge pizzas (14" and 18") that would take up most of the space on their table tops, so these plate stands help make room not just for other dishes, but for the diners as well.

Pampanga food tours have, in recent years, gained much popularity among Manila folk. Most of the tours take "food pilgrims" on a day-long Kapampangan food binge. I know, though, that many actually make the drive out to Angeles on their own to eat at local restaurants such as C'. If you're heading out just to enjoy some panizza, though, New York Supreme would give C' a run for their money - they have a larger selection of pizza rolls, it is just as good (if not better), the prices are more reasonable and it's much easier to get a table. Check it out next time you find yourself in Angeles.

New York Supreme
283 Mc Arthur Highway (this is actually the address of Mar's next door)
Balibago, Angeles City 
(45) 892 5118

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