Feeregalo's Biz Lunch Specials - Economy Fare to a First Class Destination
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
The Feeregalo Italian Restaurant in the Leo Palace Resort's flagship Hotel Belvedere is offering a "Biz" Lunch Special Menu for $12 (inclusive) every week until November 30. For those who have not been to Feeregalo you need to follow Nike's motto and "Just Do It"! Not only is it an affordable opportunity to eat a quality meal in a relatively opulent environment, but it is also a way for you to really gain an appreciation for the extraordinary architectural developments that have been constructed in the middle of our island.
The impression one gets on entering Feeregalo is that you are in a fine dining restaurant in which no expense has been spared to provide a haute cuisine dining experience. This investment in luxurious accouterments is matched by the culinary expertise demonstrated by a long-time resident of Guam, Grand Master Chef Fujigaya (formerly of Dai Ichi's legendary Le Claret French Restaurant), who oversees the gastronomic efforts at Feeregalo and the Belvedere's other outlets. Fujigaya-san was honored just last month in Japan with an Escoffier Award, placing him in the upper echelons of world chefdom. Fujigaya's vision has elevated the menu beyond Italian to encompass traditional French classics, creating a Euro-dining experience. Classical guitar music plays gently in the background and the garden view is great for solitary reflection.
The Set Menu course for the day of my review was "Cinq" (five in French), and featured two choices, a Beef Stew Miroton or a Sauteed Norwegian Salmon with Vegetable Mayonnaise Sauce as the main entrees, to be joined by a Spicy Salad with Boiled Egg and your choice of Bread or Steamed Rice. I opted for the Salmon and was soon brought a glass of iced tea by my well-dressed waiter, Wilfred. The choice of bread or rice is a crucial one, and I strongly suggest you try the bread as no one has ever won awards for steamed rice. The bread basket delivered by Wilfred had slices of warmed French bread and 2 dinner rolls. The crust on the French bread was "magnifique" and the crumb was marvelous! It had to be one of the best, if not the best, French bread I've had in a hotel restaurant. Long-time Guam residents will back me up on this since they know about the quality of bread and desserts produced by Pastry Chef & baker Owikawa-san, formerly of Guam's Dai Ichi. Every day folks would line up at Le Creole to purchase Owikawa's breads and pastries that were baked fresh daily. (GuamDiner.com staff note: Owikawa-san's French bread is unrivaled and we are delighted to share the news that he is baking again - his baquettes would be at the Le Creole counter at just before noon and gone by 1pm without fail.)
The Spicy Salad was anything but ordinary, as it was made with a blend of field greens with a spicy vinaigrette and two soft boiled eggs. There were red chilis in the dressing, and I was forewarned it would be a bit on the pika side, but it was very flavorful and not overbearing. I think there may have been some mizuna (a Japanese green known as spider mustard), arugula and some other exotic greens that imparted unique flavors. I later learned that the chefs at the various resort restaurants are up every morning picking fresh herbs and fruits from the Belevedere's huge garden located outside of the Lago Cafe on the other side of the hotel. Seeing that's another story but worth the trip - it will be an education.
The Salmon was served on a beautiful plate (they use Rosenthal China), with the filet shaped like a fish. Though it was described as "sauteed", it definitely had been finished in a salamander (oven-fired broiler) which baked the seasoned bread crumbs. It was excellent, flaked nicely, and had been placed in a puddle of a really fresh tartar sauce. Baked potato wedges and steamed broccoli surrounded the salmon filet. For you epicures, you will appreciate the serving ware protocols in use by Feeregalo - yes, a proper fish knife and fork.
Diners are not limited to the set Euro Dining Biz Lunch Special menu, which change weekly, since you can order a la carte from Feeregalo's regular menu, as I had noticed some other guests doing. I spotted a Roe, Ham and Mozzarella Pizza ($13.50), which was hand made and then baked in the ceramic pizza oven. Feeregalo has an impressive red-brick pizza making station that lends an air of "old world" authenticity. There are other entrees such as Stewed Cheek of Beef with Red Wine Sauce, Fricasseed Chicken Breast & Foie Gras with Supreme Sauce, and pastas like Tagiatelle with Tomato Flavored Gorgonzola ($12.50) and Rigatoni with Pancetta & Italian Sausage ($12.75).
Don't expect this introductory menu to remain. I have received a draft of their final menu which has such lovelies as Cheese Gnocchi and 7 pizzas with three choices of pizza crust (Whole Wheat, Chewy Crust, and Crunchy Crust), and lots more.
Feeregalo's "Biz" Lunch Specials are served Monday - Saturdays from 11:30am - 2pm. Dinner is 6pm - 9:30pm and they are featuring a bottomless glass of red or white wine promotion with a delicious Italian dinner entree for $20 person (+sc) as part of their 1st year anniversary. For reservations, which are suggested, call 471-0001. I definitely recommend a trip to the Hotel Belvedere for a Feeregalo "Biz" Lunch Special - it could prove to be the right answer to relieving your daily stress and enjoying a sumptuous dining experience.