I’ll be honest: the little anti-diet sign overhead caught my attention and put a smile on my face. In this fitness-stupid day and age when all people seem to think about is how to shed pounds and look like an extra from The Walking Dead (I’ve never gone for the “looking like an emaciated cadaver is chic” schlock, honestly), it’s nice to know that there are still places here on Earth that encourage you to grab a rib-sticking meal. Chop Stop happens to be one of them.
Part of the same group as the Adobo Connection chain that has become popular in recent years, Chop Stop is exactly what its name says it is: a little place where you can stop by for a chop – pork or chicken, it’s entirely up to you.
If the Army/Navy branch next door looks like an old-school Quonset hut decorated with scraps off the set of Last Resort or some other nautical drama, Chop Stop has a street/road/industrial kitsch vibe going on with regard to its decor.
Quirky pseudo-road signs encouraging diners to stop, look, and chow down decorate the walls alongside exposed pipes and blow-ups of famous street scenes, including one of The Beatles crossing Abbey Road. Stop-signs will make you laugh as they feature two generations’ worth of song lyrics: Stop in the Name of Love by the Supremes can be seen on one sign while the chorus from the Spice Girls’ Stop! may be read on another.
The menu covers all the bases from breakfast, lunch, and dinner to bar chow you can share with friends. Aside from the usual round of iced tea and sodas, Chop Stop also has a liquor license and serves beer and has a small selection of cocktails. Coffee and dessert are also available if you feel the need for something to round out your meal.
As I said above, pork and chicken chops are this little diner’s main stock in trade. The pork dishes cost P 145.00 a plate, while the chicken dishes are all pegged at P 165.00; both are served with a cup of rice and a small salad and you get unlimited iced tea refills for an additional P 45.00.
The first time I dropped by, I ordered the tonkatsu pork chop which is pretty much a spin on the Japanese classic. The well-seasoned chop was served with a small dish of thick, sesame-topped sauce on the side along with the rice and salad. Since I was feeling rather hungry on this particular visit, I ordered a fried egg (P 20.00) to mash into the rice. The pork was pretty good: a thick, meaty, deboned chop that was seasoned well enough that I pretty much pushed the sauce to one side. My only issue here was that the breading was too thick.
The side-dish wasn’t too shabby, either. Rather than a plain lump of shredded cabbage, the cabbage salad is reminiscent of another Asian classic: Indonesia’s gado-gado. This is due to the fact that the dressing tastes nicely of peanuts: smoky, toasty, nutty, and rich – it goes quite well with cabbage and the end result is great foil for the taste of the pork.
Another time, I had the gravy pork chop which has a batter-fried chop served with mushroom gravy. While the flavors are the same with regard to the meat, I still had some issues with the thickness of the coating. Still, it made for a good lunch with the creamy mushroom sauce which had a generous helping of sliced button mushrooms.
To finish up, I suggest you go with the Red Velvet mug-cake (P 85.00). As the name states outright, it’s a red velvet cake cooked in a glass mug – and it is, surprisingly, delicious. It’s rather chocolatey which sets it apart from other red velvet cakes whose sole claim to the name is a generous dose of scarlet food coloring. This one is lush with cocoa and vanilla and the cream cheese icing drizzled on top adds a welcome tang.
While the food here is pretty standard, I don’t mind coming back. Any place that encourages you to have a proper square meal is A-OK in my book.