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Spectacular rib-eye in a menu of limitless possibilities

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I found an interesting restaurant for those who are willing to pay for a little privacy. It’s called Prime 101 on the second floor of a building on Chino Roces Avenue near Don Bosco Makati.

It’s actually a furniture showroom, so the ambiance is very très chic. Even the bed behind a glass wall whose presence is initially confusing ultimately adds intrigue to the atmosphere. And with every table presenting a different set of chairs (prototypes and for sale), you may be inclined to walk around and check out the items after your meal, if not in between courses.

Even the menu is unique. Chef Marco Legasto has found a way to save himself from the boredom of whipping up the same dishes every day. At the same time, this system allows the chef to push himself to continuously get creative.

As with Purple Feet at the Wine Depot, the idea here is to “freestyle.” There’s a chalkboard in the middle of the room that presents the bare bones of a menu of limitless possibilities: various kinds of steak, fish and a whole lot more. You are free to dictate how you want it cooked.

Sometimes you may get stuck dictating your order to a waiter who does not really have an understanding of kitchen possibilities. He does have the notable discipline, however, of pushing the most expensive items on the menu. If this unfortunate incident occurs, go by your instincts and do not be swayed! Or better yet, call for the chef.

On the other hand, if you are lucky, the chef himself may attend to you. This is a whole lotta fun because you can act like you have your own personal chef and come to a concurrence on what would best suit your palate for your meal.

On my first visit, I asked for a Thai-inspired rib-eye, complete with coriander and lemongrass. It was spectacular—one of those meals that are so good you remember it for a long time.

On my second visit I experimented with a Malaysian-inspired rib-eye. Also fabulous.

The chef clearly knows how to present a rib-eye. But the idea is only for your own creativity to confine you, so do experiment with other dishes as well. Play with the lineup of fish: maya-maya, lapu-lapu and other double-worded varieties. Or go all starch and pasta away. For the range of cuisines, the sky is the langit, este, limit.

And if by chance you are unsatisfied with the taste of your fish—whether it is too dry or too old or it got affected by the heat—do complain. With the prices here, the kitchen should be happy to oblige. Besides, the chef is generous enough to guarantee your satisfaction and replace a dish if it’s necessary.

The wine selection is similar to what you might find at the Wine Depot. The waiter might be eager to recommend, but remember that he is not a sommelier. Instead of being swayed, it would be best to follow your gut. If it’s a failure, at least there’s no one to blame but yourself! (Then you’ll have a reason to get drunk on bad wine.)

Otherwise, the bar has a good selection of manlier liquor. And, hey, Scotch goes well with steak.

But don’t get too hammered, even if the place guarantees a modicum of privacy. The only exit is via a spiral staircase, and while you want a good time, you do want to get home unbruised!

Prime 101: 2/F, Ziebart Bldg., 2266 Chino Roces Ave., Makati (coming from Edsa, it’s before Don Bosco on the right side of the street); tel. 7208674. Reservations recommended. Not handicap-friendly (no elevator to the second floor). Major credit cards accepted. Pricey. Limited parking.

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