New Restaurant Alert: Kessaku at Commercenter, Alabang, Muntinlupa

This new Japanese restaurant in the South is laidback but comprehensive.

G/F Commercenter, Commerce Avenue corner Filinvest Avenue, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Contact: 403-3445
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.



( The light pink of Kessaku’s walls matches the perky orange of their Salmon Sashimi (P265). The fish had just arrived in the kitchen. Freshly butchered, the belly is so supple that it gives a little when you prod it with your chopsticks. The Maguro (P265) is a deep plum, soft and squishy, but dissolving just as deliciously inside the mouth as the sake.


Sushi Boat


You could eat just this all day, especially when it comes in the boat-shaped platter chock-full of sushi and sashimi essentials. Salmon, tuna, ebitamago, kani-all for P888.



A very serene setting


"We want to be traditional Japanese," says Kessaku co-owner Yums Aggabao of their menu, which covers everything from ramen to katsu, "but in a modern setting." She adds that they revised the interiors often until it came to be this soft and muted color palette that invite you to peacefully enjoy their toils.


Kessaku closes between lunch and dinner, which is just as well for the sake of their inventory and your wallet. Apart from the addictive lure of fresh, raw fish, there are too many other savory options, including the complementary appetizer-tiny tangles of kani and mayonnaise appearing very much like fun-sized, rice-less maki themselves.




California Maki


The actual rolls, particularly the famous California Maki (P240), relates impeccable balance. Kessaku tops kani on each cylinder of rice instead of the norm of stuffing it between the sheets of nori. The flavor of crab is clearer, the mayonnaise barely interfering and the green tobiko, the briny icing on top of a very rewarding cake.





If they come in miniature, then surely they come in large. The Symphony (P380) is the answer to whatever maki craving you encounter. A palm-sized stage of tempura-battered sushi rice lays ground for first, a layer of spicy tuna, then a tier of spicy salmon, then a mass of crabsticks, then finally, a halo of crab roe. It's thoughtfully pre-sliced, making consumption much more desirable-and quicker.


Angus Prime Chahan




Of the many other dishes, it would be the Angus Prime Chahan (P199), fluffy rice painted in fragrant and salty flavor and embellished with chunks of velvet beef, that would distract us from the bestselling sushi and ebi tempura (P280 to P650). A bowl is already a meal, and you won't be kept wanting for anything more...except maybe another plate of sake sashimi.

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