Place: Cramped. A little claustrophobic actually. The decor is OK, but the dining chairs are worn-out. Also, the music, the kitchen, and the staff are too loud, making the place not conducive for a relaxing dining experience.
Food: Generally delicious. What we have on our table are the restaurant's bestselling and/or signature dishes.
First are the Grilled Scallops (Php 230): grilled scallops with a buttery-garlicky topping. The scallops are a little tough, but they're fresh. The tasty combination of the butter and garlic is so good, one can't help but order one more plate of this dish.
Next is the Kuya J's Crispy Pata (Php 499, Regular size). The pork leg is fried perfectly; the skin is crispy and the meat is tender and juicy. This dish has hints of lechon macau flavor. It is served whole, then the waiter cuts the leg using a pair of scissors just to show you how tender the meat is. It is served with soy sauce-vinegar dip that lacks some kick and a small serving of pickled carrots that has a delicious sweet-sour taste.
Then, we have the Pochero Bulalo Tagalog (Php 339). Beef shank and vegetables with a tomato-based sauce. The beef shank is tender and packed with flavor. The vegetables are fresh. The fried camote and banana pieces are sweet and not overcooked. The sauce though is just a tad too sweet; it needs more meat flavor to balance things out.
For dessert, we have the Tablea Coffee Flan (Php 85): flan made with Batangas tablea, served with cream. We like the deep, bittersweet flavor of the flan. Its integrity though is too solid for a flan.
Price: Considering the ingredients used, serving size, and taste, food here is reasonably priced.
Service: Waiting time is acceptable. The waiters though need to be classier and more attentive.
Kuya J is on the Upper Ground floor of SM City Marikina.
By the way, according to our server, the J stands for Jeremiah. Not Jericho Rosales. Hehe.