At TSISMIS where casual bites go deliciously well with juicy small talk

From small plates to entrees, an assortment of food with European, American and Asian influences.

On June 7th, TSISMIS (chis’mis) NYC, a Filipino American restaurant, opened on famed Orchard Street. TSISMIS is derived from the Spanish word “chisme,” meaning gossip, which the owners selected with the idea of  introducing a casual gathering place to bring people, food and drinks together.

The owners are husband and wife Stephen Young and Reggie Aguinaldo, both of Philippine descent and residents of New York City for over 26 years. They bring to the table many years of work and personal experience in venture capital, food service, retail, fashion and international travel, and have assembled a culinary team with Executive Chef Jappy Afzelius, Beverage Service Manager Philippe Segura, Sous Chef Ira Mathew, and Restaurant Manager Anna Frumenti.

Chef Jappy, who is Philippine-born, began to learn the fundamentals of French cooking under Alain Ducasse at Chez Allard Bistro in Paris and BenoitBistro in New York. From there he worked at David Burke Fabrick and the Michelin Bib Gourmand Manila Social Club. He then went to Italy, studying the “Slow Food Movement,” a grassroots organization devoted to preventing the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. In 2018 he received his Master’s in Food Culture and Communications from the University of Gastronomic Science in Piedmont, Italy.  

Chef Jappy Afzelius studied French and Italian cooking and integrates them with Filipino cuisine.

The TSISMIS NYC restaurant design concept is by New York architect Greg Yang. It is intimate and resembles a modern tropical bistro, melding the aesthetics of New York and Baguio City. The branding and signage program was developed by Julian Leon, a New York based art director.

The TSISMIS menu starts with a selection of appetizers under Pica Pica, meaning small bites. Choices include Kale Laing, using local kale instead of taro leaves sautéed with shrimp paste and coconut milk; Pinsit Fritos, crispy fried pork dumplings; Babylou’s Lumpia, fried vegetarian spring rolls; and Gambas, sautéed shrimp with shishito peppers in an olive oil garlic butter sauce.

Ensaladas offered include the Pinoy Caesar with local grown romaine lettuce, garlic croutons, tuyo (Philippine anchovies) flakes and a spicy Caesar dressing. The Ensaladang Pampagana meal starter features fresh mangoes, ripe tomatoes and a salted duck egg in a Calamansi vinaigrette; EQ’s Pinakbet Salad is a tribute to the memory of noted Filipino Chef Ed Quimson, who served this dish in a deconstructed presentation from the classic Pinakbet with a Bagoong dressing.

A selection of Sopas has choices like Monggong Sabaw, a vegetarian soup made with yellow mung bean, lemongrass and tofu; and Pancit Molo, a pork-ravioli-style dumpling in a chicken broth.

Kale Laing
Fish Sinigang

Featured Platos on the menu include TSISMIS’ take on Adobo, the national dish of the Philippines with their Adobong Manok Dilaw, Frenched cut roasted chicken in a turmeric soy sauce served with smoked eggplant; Pritong Isda, a pan fried bangus (Milkfish) belly served with chayote and quinoa; Pancit Bihon, a sharing dish comprised of wok fried mung bean vermicelli noodles with sautéed vegetables and tofu; Sinigang, a tamarind-based soup with seared salmon filet, poached eggplant, daikon and bok choy; Reggie’s Pasta Aligue, al dente angel hair pasta tossed with crab fat sauce and lump crabmeat; and Kare Kare, Buntot tender beef oxtail in a ground peanut-rice sauce.

Dessert options under Postres include Maja Blanca, a coconut pudding with sweet corn and ube (purple yam) barquillos; the Fruity Halo Halo, replaces the traditional shaved ice with coconut sorbet complemented by fresh tropical fruits and coconut juice; and Silvanas, cashew meringue wafers with buttercream and cookie nut crumble.

The restaurant offers a signature cocktail, sake and wine menu developed by Beverage Service Manager, Philippe Segura and the TSISMIS team. Philippe is of French-Spanish heritage and has worked as a sommelier, mixologist and restaurant consultant throughout his career.  

TSISMIS NYC is located at 143 Orchard Street, New York.

© The FilAm 2019

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