What’s on the menu at Lasa, a casual Filipino follow-up to Lamesa on St. Clair West
Contact Info: 634 St. Clair Ave. W., @lasabylamesa
Owners: Les Sabilano (Lamesa) and his parents, Ester and Cirilino
Chef: Daniel Cancino (Lamesa, Hudson Kitchen)
Previously: Comp Kaibigan, a Filipino grocery store run by the Sabilanos for the past two decades
The majority of the sharing-friendly plates are Filipino classics: Chicken adobo, lumpia Shanghai (pork-stuffed spring rolls), a range of pork skewers and hearty stews such as the oxtail kare kare. “Most Filipinos order the kare kare to test a restaurant,” chef Daniel Cancino says. “If it’s good, you know the kitchen knows what it’s doing.” Some dishes have been adapted for more mainstream appeal. The tamarind-braised pork rib sinigang, for example, is served with bok choy instead of bitter melon.
Lasa isn’t licensed, but pop and tropical juices (guava, calamansi) are available.
The bright space looks almost too pretty to be a counter-service joint. Cheryl Torrenueva, a designer with TV cred (she was on Restaurant: Impossible), transformed this grocery store with Pintrest panache. She’s a friend of Les Sabilano and worked with his budget by decking out IKEA tables with pops of colour and focusing on custom woodwork that subtly alludes to the Filipino flag. The lights, which look like two salakot (wide-brimmed Filipino hats), are a great touch.