Craig LaBan reports on Cebu, the Filipino restaurant in Old City and finds that the restaurant isn’t doing the cuisine justice.

There were some better efforts on the menu. Among the best were tasty lumpia spring rolls filled with shrimp and ground pork, tender Manila clams roasted with fermented black beans and chorizo, and an enormous bowl of exotic lobster-coconut bisque that had more than enough tamarind-chile zing and lobster meat to compensate for the occasional bit of shell.

But just when it seems Cebu is about to hit a homespun home run with authentically tender stewed kare kare oxtails, the kitchen shyly neuters the peanut sauce to stunning blandness by opting not to add bagoong, a salty fermented shrimp paste that would have lent the dish a crucial spark of funk. It does appear as a subtle undertow in a vinaigrette for the side of green beans. But it was too little bagoong too late.

One Bell – Hit or Miss

Cebu [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Cebu [Official Site]