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The Rockville Pike Lunch Club had today's meeting at this little Filipino buffet spot located in the late lamented (at least by me) Pho Quyen space. Seeing our looks of befuddlement at the names of the Filipino dishes, the manager kindly went through all dozen or so items with us. Great lunch deal -- a heap of rice and two buffet items for $6.50. I had a pork kebab that was good if a little on the dry side. The glaze was somewhat somewhat sweet with a hint of what must be peanuts. My other was the "restaurant speciality" a braised beef. Done very nicely. The sauce was very thick and a little sweet with nice round spices. A couple of dabs of Sriracha (recommended by the manager) served very well to round out the beef. Serving size was quite reasonable. Enough to fill you up without forcing you to take home two meals worth of food in a doggy bag. All in all quite satisfactory. I look forward to going back soon and trying more items.
First, an update for the topic title and dining guide. There had to be one, right? Noone has posted on this place in nearly six years! Pampanguena Cafe is no more. Rather the name is no more but all else appears to be the same. Now known as Kapampangan Cuisine (KC), I learned the business was sold to "new owners" a few months ago. But the cook/chef remains the same. And, presumably Her husband remains the same; he works out front and will narrate the various dishes as requested. The location in the Gaithersburg strip mall remains the same. And, though a lunch stop this week was my first visit, I'm told the food remains the same as well. Maybe one of those intra-family, arns-length transactions? Not sure. Had an appointment in the area and had to kill an hour or so around lunch time. This was a time when the famous DonRockwell Dining Guide saved the day! Nearly six years ago, Don himself wrote (upthread): While I have no idea whether the above praise is still merited given all the changes in ethnic and Asian cuisine in the area, I was able to compare this with Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong's great, Filipino inspired tasting menu at Restaurant Eve, where we had dinner last weekend (see the Eve thread for that post if interested). Of course, the similarities are a stretch since one is elegant fine dining and this is more authentic Manila street food. But still quite good and very much consistent with the reviews posted above. We had a chicken stew with sausage and mushroom sauce that was very tasty, an assertive beef tomato-based stew with good flavor but a little dry, and the more basic version of what both KC and Restaurant Eve call "Filipino BBQ." There, it was a fabulous hunk of pork belly with a subtle yet tangy sauce. Here, it was an oversized, satay-style skewer slathered with a thicker and sweeter sauce. And, still excellent lumpia. I've been to Manila just once years ago and this does remind me of the street food enjoyed there. The newly-named but long-established Kapampangan Cuisine is still very much worth visiting if in the Gaithersburg area. Will leave to others who know the restaurant scene there better than I do to opine whether it's still the 2nd best G'burg restaurnt. We liked it quite a bit.