Somerville Pinoy Restaurant
June 15, 2013
For some weeks, Via has been inviting us to visit her at Somerville Pinoy Restaurant in Somerville, NJ where she works part-time as a waitress. So Vi and I went.

Somerville is located 40 miles west of New York City. Its downtown Main Street is home to boutiques and specialty shops that remind me of Woodstock in the Catskills. Its Main Street is also called “restaurant row” because it has “a large selection of restaurants that draw people from the surrounding area”. (source: Among those restaurants is Somerville Pinoy on Division Street off Main Street.

The portion of Division Street off Main Street was converted into a permanent pedestrian promenade in 2012. Musicians perform there on Saturday nights where people come to sit, hang out, and enjoy the free music. It has become a place for the locals to unwind and relax.

Filipino food, according to Cynthia Conshue who with husband Tyrone owns Somerville Pinoy, has had the misfortune of being misperceived as “yucky” because of the immense popularity of (or infamy if you are so inclined as to not take delight in) balut. Many Filipino restaurants’ neglect of appearance and style which set mood and ambiance, where a potential diner might just as soon walk out as soon as he walks in, doesn’t help. If that is all fine diners associate Filipino food with, Cynthia laments, then they are missing out on a lot of great Filipino food.

Cynthia vows to change that. At Somerville Pinoy, you can order lunch combination turo-turo style but without the food floating in grease typically found in other places. Her recipes are healthier. At night, tables are candlelit but with enough ceiling lighting to make for an inviting and—if that’s what you came for—romantic meal.

Most important, the food we ordered—Tilapia Fillet and Soft Shell Crab in Garlic Sauce with Shanghai Lumpia as appetizers—did not disappoint. They were delicious. They would impress upon diners to come visit again. Our bill with Halu-halo and Turon for dessert and leafy green salads that came with the main course came out to under $40.

Visit Somerville Pinoy at 18 Division Street in Somerville, New Jersey. Our daughter, Via, will be more than happy to serve you. And bring your friends and co-workers along, too. If you’re Filipino, Somerville Pinoy is a place where you will take pride in Filipino food. If you’re not Filipino, and no one can blame you if you’ve been put off by prevailing misperceptions, Somerville Pinoy will reintroduce you or maybe even reindoctrinate you to what real Filipino food is about.

Click on a picture to enlarge.
Somerville Pinoy Restaurant
Dining area.
The section behind the divider on the right is where you can pick up Filipino grocery items.
View from the back.
Via happy to serve you.
Outdoor seating.
Division Street leads to the Somerville Train Station and U.S. Post Office which are off to the left.
Main Street is in the T-intersection in the distance.
At night, candles are lit.
Cynthia is on the right.
Pedestrian promenade where musicians perform on Saturday nights.
Shanghai Lumpia appetizer. There were 9 pieces -- Vi and I already had a piece each by the time I got my camera ready.
Tilapia Fillet.
Soft Shell Crab in Garlic Sauce.
Halu-Halo is a favorite Filipino dessert. Instead of paying $5 for two scoops of fat I mean ice cream, you can instead opt for Halu-halo which is mostly water as it's shaved ice and lots of fruits so healthier. OK, tons of sugar, too. But then, so is ice cream.

Because of its ingredients -- beans, garbanzos, palm fruit, coconut meat strands, and a whole host of fruits boiled sweet -- halu-halo is very filling and so is not normally taken as dessert after a heavy meal. Instead, it's taken more as an afternoon snack in the hot tropical climate.

Still, just for the ube-flavor ice cream on top which you won't find anywhere else be it Friendly's or Baskin Robbins, you owe it to yourself to sample Halu-halo because otherwise you won't know what you're missing. As far as I'm concerned, ube (purple yam) is the best ice cream flavor there ever is.
Via serving mom dessert.
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