After a brief hiatus, Infino re-opened yesterday as Marianas Kitchen, with the hiring of a local chef from Tanapag that promises plenty of Chamorro flavor.
Chef Juan Carlos Berrocal said they had to close the restaurant for a couple of weeks to recalibrate with the introduction of a fresh menu and a new name—Marianas Kitchen and Infino Restaurant.
True to its new name, the restaurant will be upping the ante on its fusion menu and will serve more local cuisine, with the help of David Rios, who will tap into the flavors of Islas Marianas.
The 44-year-old Rios has no professional cooking experience, but has been making local dishes more than half of his life.
Among his favorite dishes to cook are fish escabeche, fritada (the local version of the Filipino dinuguan that is a savory stew usually made of pork offal and/or meat simmered in a rich, spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, and vinegar), pot roast, Chamorro beef steak, and local-style sukiyaki.
Rios said he appreciates Berrocal for taking a chance in him and hopes to soon enroll in the culinary program of the Northern Marianas Trades Institute.
Berrocal said Rios was one of his most enthusiastic followers on Facebook and, after getting to know one another and seeing Rios’ passion for cooking, he hired him immediately.
“We just want to infuse some local identity into our restaurant. This is our way of embracing and respecting the local cuisine,” he said.
Aside from Chamorro cuisine, the relaunched Marianas Kitchen and Infino will also feature Filipino cuisine, which, like Chamorro food, is heavily influenced by the Spanish.
Joining Berrocal and Rios in the food trenches are sous chef Carol Flores from Pampanga, Philippines and line cook Remedios Amor, who hails from Ilocos Sur, also in the Philippines.
Flores said she’s been working in restaurants for the past seven years after graduating from NMTI’s culinary program. Her specialties include pork stew and barbecue baby back ribs.
Amor has six years of cooking experience and cites adobo and caldereta as her go-to dishes.
With local and Filipino food taken cared off, Berrocal said he will continue to whip out mouth-watering Spanish, Italian, and Peruvian offerings.
Like before, the revamped restaurant will continue to serve lunch buffet every day from 11am to 2pm and ala carte offerings from 11:30am to 2pm and 5:30pm to closing time at 9:30pm.
Marianas Kitchen and Infino’s lunch buffet is from Monday to Saturday, 11:30am to 2pm, and costs $12.99.
Marianas Kitchen and Infino is located beside QQ Rent-A-Car in Garapan. For reservation and for more information, call (670) 233-9966. It can also be reached via Facebook.