Mike Pimentel started Adobo ATL in 2019 to share his passion for Filipino-American cuisine with Atlanta.
After moving to the city from New York in 2014, Pimentel missed his mother’s home cooking as well as the Filipino foods and ingredients that were more present in New York.
Adobo’s approach as a chef is to combine traditional Filipino flavors with comforting American classics. This style of cuisine is a reflection of Pimentel’s experience as a child growing up in the United States with two Filipino parents.
Chef Mike’s featured dish is his Beef Bistek Fries. He notes that this dish best represents his chef identity. “It’s inspired by some of my favorite Filipino dishes that my lola (grandmother) would make for me growing up,” he says.
Although the bistek fries have strong Filipino roots, the dish is also approachable, shareable and very tasty. It’s a menu staple and customers keep coming back for more.
Of course, one of the two main components of the dish is the beef bistek: shredded beef slowly braised with onions, soy and lemon. Typically, beef bistek uses sirloin, but Chef Mike utilizes a different cut of meat that is more tender and better absorbs the extra sauce. “My favorite part was always the sauce at the bottom of the pan,” says Pimentel. “But there was never enough of it. I wanted to transform the dish to highlight the sauce.”
The second main component, the sinigang fries, are equally important. Traditionally, sauteed onions and white rice accompany the bistek, however, Chef Mike saw an opportunity to pair the beef with a traditional American comfort food. Chef Mike uses fresh cut potato fries that are fried twice to guarantee a crispy outside with an extra fluffy interior. They are seasoned with a homemade seasoning of tamarind, onions and tomatoes. These flavors pay homage to the tangy sinigang Filipino stew.
The rich bistek fries are balanced with a pickled papaya slaw and served with a Filipino ketchup-mayo dipping sauce. The dipping sauce has a touch of sweetness from the addition of bananas.
Punk Foodie offers this weekly column about Punk Food, a moniker for a cuisine without defining or distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes which is being born out of the increasing infusion of the diverse cultures and experiences that live in our city. Find out where Adobo ATL is popping up next and go deeper via Punk Foodie’s weekly guides and pop-up calendar.