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Bonding over Surf and Turf


by Sol Vanzi

Meals were always a big affair when Vic and I were raising five kids, particularly when eating out. Ordering food became a long and tedious process that involved arguments and debates over every item on the menu. I solved it by ordering dishes that could be shared family-style.

Sharing dishes, we discovered, encouraged us to discuss things, beginning with the dishes, our schedules, big and small things that families often ignore in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.

  • Mixed grilled seafood

  • Chateaubriand steak

  • Prime’s Tomahawk

  • Norwegian cut salmon

    The family outings became less frequent as the kids grew up, had careers and families. Now they have their own families and themselves sit at the head of the table during meals of shared dishes, family-style.


    Happy flashbacks interrupted my pleasant lunch with friends last week while savoring Discovery Suites special dishes at 22 Prime: sharing-style platters good for three to four persons, as well as a mom-approved kids’ menu. Chef Gerwin Bailon chose Chateaubriand steak, Prime’s tomahawk, Norwegian cut salmon, and mixed grilled seafood which were so perfectly prepared and presented that everyone was at a loss for words.

    Our Chateaubriand was from the prime center part of aged USDA tenderloin, not sirloin as other restaurants do. The original recipe was created for Francois René Vicomte de Chateaubriand, French author and statesman, by his chef Montmireil in 1822 and it remains one of the standards of French haute cuisine.                                                                                                                 History states, it was originally served with Bernaise sauce, although some say the sauce was made with reduced white wine, shallots, demi-glace, butter, and lemon juice. At 22 Prime, several sauces are offered to satisfy every taste.

    Served on a huge wooden plank, the sliced Chateaubriand steak revealed evenly seared surfaces and beautiful pink centers with nary a hint of bleeding. Masters were definitely at work in the kitchen, who also grilled organic asparagus and fresh forest mushrooms to serve with truffle barley risotto for a well-balanced combination.

    Gigantic Tomahawk steak – To make each Tomahawk steak the butcher takes a cut of rib eye and leaves the rib bone in to serve as the Tomahawk axe’s handle.

    With a minimum thickness of two inches of steak, a true Tomahawk would probably feed a small family and is one of the trickiest dishes to master, even for professional chefs’. With one side lined with delicious beef fat and another side protected by a thick rib bone, a Tomahawk cut requires skill, a very hot grill, patience, and an excellent meat thermometer.

    Our table’s Tomahawk was sliced thinly crosswise for maximum enjoyment with baked tomato Parmesan gratin and scalloped potatoes. Chef Gerwin generously provided more sauces to enhance our dining experience.

    Sustainable Seafood – A vast array of marine products filled our tray of mixed grilled seafood: prawns, salmon, tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper, squid, mussels, and scallops. As if that’s not enough, heirloom rice from the Cordilleras was tossed in squid ink for a rich finish. A small tray held various sauces for the excellent seafood.

    All the seafood served by the hotel comes from certified sustainable sources that do not harm the environment or upset the ecosystem. It was one of the most satisfying, guilt-free meals I have had in a while.

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