Then and Now: A Look at the Newly-Improved Rap Steaks and Cakes in Taft AvenueJuly 24, 2014
Rap Steak and Cakes—or Rap’s, as we older Taft alumni always called it—was where I first fell in love with steak. I spent an entire term’s three-hour breaks enjoying spoonfuls of white rice drowned in their unlimited gravy and slice after slice of the properly done Porterhouse Steaks. The company I kept during these beefy moments were all male, so I mastered the art of “eating like a man” and brought it with me for the rest of my food-driven life. Years after our younger days, I was with two of those friends in Ortigas and we waited out the rain in Rap’s adult location at the Home Depot Complex. The steak was, in many ways, similar to what I could draw from memory, and the gravy as creamy, buttery, and sweet as I remembered. But nothing will ever beat the consistency and preparation over at the Taft branch.
Rap’s steak was, in many ways, similar to what I could draw from memory, and the gravy as creamy, buttery, and sweet as I remember. But nothing will ever beat the consistency and preparation over at the Taft branch.
Upon entering the Taft branch, years after my last visit, I was pleased to find that there were more tables inside and the kitchen remodeled as an area behind the counter. It was a huge improvement from the restaurant’s earlier days, when the steak was prepared in a separate outside area. The renovation also helped speed up the service: the improved kitchen was right beside the counter, where the waiters could readily pick up the order. At the same time, the kitchen had a see-through door and obviously wasn’t trying to hide anything preparation wise from its customers. In fact, our photographer was allowed entry into the kitchen to take a photo without us having to call them beforehand. Dim lighting aside, the Taft branch appeared just as polished and sleek as Rap’s Ortigas counterpart.
What I hoped didn’t change and would taste exactly like my many memories was Rap’s Porterhouse Steak. We ordered it like any steak should be: medium rare. Before serving the steak plate itself, the waiters made sure the pitcher of unlimited gravy and the tall bottle of Rap’s signature Worcestershire-based sauce were on our table. When it was finally time to enjoy the 240g steak, I drowned the tender beef in the pale sauce and then watched the Worcestershire sauce float above the creamy gravy before sliding on to the plate’s surface. The sweetness and smoothness of the gravy complemented the beef’s salt and pepper-based seasoning, while that hot-off-the-grill smokiness added a little tingle to the experience. Add a little extra Worcestershire if you want all the flavors well-represented, as the sourness of the sauce can heighten the savory seasoning of the steak.
Prices have increased long since those lunches with my bros, but the Porterhouse (Regular) is reasonably priced at PHP 195 as this already includes rice, garlic green beans, unlimited gravy, and Rap’s signature sauce.
Prices have increased long since those lunches with my friends, but the Porterhouse (Regular) is still reasonably priced at PHP 195, as this already includes rice, garlic green beans, unlimited gravy, and Rap’s signature sauce. If you feel like (or are actually) eating for two, there’s only a slight increase for the Porterhouse (Large) that’s 330g at PHP 225. Don’t let your age show as you take in the increased prices; given how much a decent steak is at the supermarket, these rates are a steal and the quality you get is way beyond the actual tag. You’re also paying for the consistent quality of the gravy and Rap’s signature sauce in each bottle.
They’ve also expanded their menu to a Surf and Turf section. We were partially pleased and disappointed.
The improved Rap’s also still offers other classics such as Chicken Lollipop with Unlimited Gravy (6 pcs) at a reasonable PHP 175 and the Chicken Tenders with Unlimited Gravy for the same price and amount in pieces. They’ve also expanded their menu to a Surf and Turf section that includes Shrimp Gambas with Steamed Rice (PHP 230). We ordered this item to see if the additions were an improvement. We were partially pleased and disappointed: on one hand, the shrimp pieces were soaked in butter without that umay factor with a spiciness that was just right. But we wished the shrimp pieces were bigger so we could taste more of the flavor it had to offer. The price was also a little too steep given the quantity.
Nostalgia for the PHP 100-price tags aside, I am glad Rap’s has made remarkable improvements to their interiors and still continues to deliver on where it matters: a steak that’s worth every slice, bite, and gravy dip. Like all those lunches long ago, I went home satisfied, sleepy, but also dreaming of my next visit.