How does a half-Ukrainian, half-Polish Chicago native end up cooking some of the Windy City’s most celebrated Filipino food? Fall in love with a woman from Manila, that’s how. In 1991, Mike Grajewski already married to Lucia—scraped together the $25,000 down payment to buy an abandoned restaurant in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, leaving behind his career as a scrapyard metalworker. He started out serving traditional American fare, over time adding more Filipino items as word spread about Uncle Mike’s killer breakfasts. He learned by osmosis, gleaning tips from his mother-in-law and adding his own unique touches. Here, skirt steak becomes tender after an overnight bath in teriyaki and 7Up, fried rice packs a garlicky punch, and a dipping sauce originally made with fish sauce gets a vinegar swap-in and the nickname “Filipino Pico de Gallo.”
Recipe reprinted with permission from "America's Best Breakfasts" by Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman (Clarkson Potter).
- 2 pounds skirt steak, silver skin removed (ask your butcher to do this)
- ¾ cup bottled teriyaki marinade
- 2½ cups 7Up soda
- 15 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
Garlic Fried Rice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 cups cooked jasmine rice (1 cup raw)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, or more to taste
- 1 medium tomato, finely diced
- ½ small onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar (or fish sauce, if desired)
- 8 large eggs
Prepare the steak: Using a sharp knife, score the steak in a small cross-hatch pattern to enable better marinating. In a resealable plastic bag or nonreactive container, combine the teriyaki marinade, 7Up, and garlic. Add the steak, seal or cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Remove the steak from the refrigerator about an hour before you want to grill and let it come to room temperature. Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Shake excess marinade from the steak and cook until the meat reaches 135°F for medium-rare (or higher, to your preference), 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Make the rice and the sauce: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and fry, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown and crackle, 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and sesame oil. In a small bowl, combine the tomato, onion, cilantro, and white vinegar.
Cook the eggs in your desired style.
Plate the dish: Serve the steak with the rice, topped with the eggs. Serve the dipping sauce on the side.