HotBox Kitchen is a New American comfort food restaurant in San Juan that smokes their own bacon and sausages. The facade is unassuming and tucked between a laundry and a dentist, may probably have passed by and did not notice. The cozy, well designed space is small with seating for less than 30 people and curiously opens at 4pm.
There are a lot of Canadian touches inside the restaurant owing to Chef Adrian Corby’s Canadian roots like this maple syrup can doubling as utensils container.
Carrot Coconut Curry (P150). Three ingredients I would not have though would be put together, sweet carrot puree with nutty coconut and earthy curry. I love all three of them so mixing them up was a eureka moment for my taste buds.
Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop (P345). 8oz French cut pork chop served with green beans and rice. Grilled perfectly with beautiful char marks and with the bone intact giving it more flavor. The glaze is a mix of sweet and savory which jives well with my palette and I would fathom a guess the local tastes. Serving size is generous enough for sharing especially with some starters.
Chili Con Carne (P255). While browsing the menu I cam upon this dish, unusual because it usually use beef instead of the pork that HotBox Kitchen uses. Their version of chili has smoked sausages, ground pork, tomatoes, onions, corn, kidney beans and spices, served with garlic toast on the side. Loved the strong comforting flavors that had a little spice which would have went perfectly with rice. I did exactly that with the leftovers, mixed thoroughly with my cup of rice.
Steak Frites (P995). Grilled 10 oz Angus rib eye served with fries, sea salt and bacon gravy. The steak is cooked and seasoned well and finished off with maple butter. The bacon gravy is just gravy as the steak is tasty on it’s own. The steak is good value but I would have preferred a smaller but thicker steak instead.
You can upgrade your fries to Poutine for P100, which we then added house smoked bacon for P50, well worth the extra costs. The poutine is really good especially with the house smoke bacon adding a flavor punch. Hand cut fries with bacon gravy, aged cheddar and mozzarella, too bad we don’t have cheese curds here with the satisfying squeaky sound it makes while you chew it.
The meal at HotBox Kitchen was very enjoyable, eclectic mix of dishes, all packed with flavor. Serving size is value for money but I still find opening at 4pm really weird. Hopefully they can add a lunch service during weekends.