Chop chop!

Meet the meats at The Lost Cow, the only chophouse of its caliber in Panglao, Bohol

THE LOST COW The new chophouse at Amorita Resort elevates the dining scene in Panglao, Bohol

Lick your chops. There’s a new dining spot at Amorita Resort in Panglao, Bohol.

The Lost Cow has only soft-opened, but it has been found—by meat lovers, that is. The chophouse since it opened with no fanfare has been booked, even overbooked on the weekends.

KNOCK OUT KNUCKLES Beer-brined crispy pork knuckles with apple relish and baked sausage and beans

All tables were accounted for on Saturday night, but Lyba Godio, COO of One-Of Collection, which runs Amorita, the resort’s GM Leeds Trompeta, executive chef Greg Villalon, and marketing chief Kata Agmata set up a beautiful table at Amorita’s cliff deck garden overlooking Alona Beach, so yes, we had chophouse food in a more atmospheric space, replete with the hunter’s moon overhead.

A chophouse to me is a less formal version of a place where you go for steaks, but The Lost Cow, serene and clean and contemporary, fronted by transparent glass walls and doors, where Amorita used to run an Italian restaurant, is decked out with all the elements of an upscale lounge, with a wider selection of meats on its menu, other than succulent steaks. There’s a party vibe, too, which is probably why the list of signature cocktails, boxed and strung with cowbells, is as big on the carefully curated menu as the bar is in the craftily designed dining room.

I started with “Frankly, My Dear,” bourbon infused with bacon and Angostura bitters, which referenced the sprawling plantation house among the rolling green pastures and red fields of the American deep south that Scarlett O’Hara described as “Nowhere else in the world was there land like this” in the Margaret Mitchell epic Gone with the Wind. But I ended up drinking more of the Don Papa Rum, passion fruit, and lime juice cocktail intriguingly, perhaps enticingly called “Maybe I Should.”

For starters, we had the appropriately named “Chilling at the Cocktail Bar” crab and prawn cold platter with a trio of sauces housemade with a master saucier’s love affair with infusions, creams, and aromatic broths—smoked salmon remoulade, uni cocktail sauce, and coconut vinegar mignonette.

'MEXICAN CHICKEN CIGARS,' chicken and cheese taquito rolls with mango chipotle salsa

In the roasted bone marrow butter served with buttermilk biscuits, there was no shortage of elements evocative of cowboys and ranches and the Wild West as this dish, named after a 1990s Clint Eastwood blockbuster, is called “The Bridges of Madison County.”

Also served was “Mexican Chicken Cigars,” chicken and cheese taquito rolls with mango chipotle salsa.

There are salads, too, if you wish to start slow on the meats. Choose from “Uncle Caesar’s,” Caesar wedge salad with bacon granola, or “Southern Belle,” grilled steak salad with corn, orange, pepper, and fried tortilla in buttermilk ranch dressing, or soup, the “Sassy Seafood Chowder,” smoked fish and shrimp chowder with whipped lemon crema.

Now that appetizers are out of the way, let’s get down and dirty with the meats. As Greg, the man on top of the kitchen, put it, “Time to tuck into fresh, chilled seafood cocktails, thich-cut bacon slabs, and of course properly charred hunks of meat!”

From the grill, choose between “Longhorn,” 250-gram USDA Prime tenderloin, and “The Bronx,” 300-gram USDA Prime New York strip. Each steak comes with your choice of one sauce (gentleman steak sauce, brandy peppercorn brown sauce, miso shallot compound butter, or coffee chimichuri), and your choice of one side (stuffed baked potatoes, roasted garlic and bacon fried rice, spinach and cheese soufflé, vegetable au gratin, or crispy haystack onions).

Smoke ’em, grill ’em, and fry ’em up! We’ve got all the meat for you. —Greg Villalon

If you want a bigger steak, go for the 500-gram “Matador,” USDA Prime ribeye that’s good for two, which will be served to you with your choice of two sides and two sauces.

Bigger still—and definitely for hearty sharing—is the “Geronimo,” 1,000-gram USDA Prime tomahawk, which is served with four sides and four sauces of your choice.

GERONIMO USDA Prime tomahawk with four sauces (gentleman steak sauce, brandy peppercorn brown sauce, miso shallot compound butter, or coffee chimichurri) and four sides (choose from stuffed baked potatoes, roasted garlic and bacon fried rice, spinach and cheese soufflé, vegetable au gratin, or crispy haystack onions)

Non-steaks from the grill include “The Wolverine,” 300-gram lamb chops with your choice of one side and one sauce.

From the smoker, there’s the “Ranger’s Roundup,” a platter of half a chicken, two bacon slabs, and two sausage links. There’s “Midnight Train to Georgia,” maple-cured pork back ribs, as well as “The Genie,” a chicken rub flavored with 12 spices and herbs, “Bacon with a Vendetta,” a thick-cut bacon slab, and “Winner Wiener” or Polish kielbasa. Each of these entrees come with your choice of one side (jalapeno cheddar corn bread, creamy ranch potato salad, apple and jicama slaw, or maple walnut baked sweet yams) and one sauce (chophouse BBQ, Alabama-style white BBQ, stewed apple vinegar, bacon and pineapple rum jam, or kimchi and red eye chili), except the meat platter, which entitles you and your party group to two sides and two sauces.   

Listed on the menu as mains are “Mama’s Stuffed Chops,” double cut porkchop with sausage cranberry cornbread stuffing served with mushrooms and sautéed greens, “Bullseye,” double layer cheddar smash burger, “Maverick,” breakfast steak with eggs, “Farmer Fred’s Favorite,” skillet smoked biscuit chicken pot pie, “Knock Out Knuckles,” beer-brined crispy pork knuckles with apple relish and baked sausage and beans, and “Hot Hooked,” smoked wood plank salmon with green bean salad and new potatoes.

When all the meat is done, you’ll be surprised that The Lost Cow is also big on desserts. Take your pick from “Oh My Sweetie Pie,” the pecan-crusted maple apple pie, “Hollywood, Here I Come,” the salted caramel popcorn chocolate fudge cake, “Banutter,” the banana cream butter mess, or—the bombshell of desserts—“Marilyn Monroe,” the smoked cheese cake with cherry cola.

There’s coffee or tea to wrap it up, or juice, soda, and shake, but save room for digestifs like schnapps and Jagermeister.

At the end of a meal at The Lost Cow at Amorita in Panglao, Bohol, you may call it a day or decide that the night is forever young, as long as you haven’t had enough to drink to toast such a splendid meal.

COWABUNGA Hung on the wall of this private room for eight at The Lost Cow are photos of the places in which the peripatetic cow had been found, from Scarlet O'Hara's Georgia to the covered bridges of Madison County in Iowa to the glamour and grit of Hollywood

After all, the bar list, with champagne, wine, beer, vodka, rum, brandy and cognac, Scotches, as well as sherries, ports, cordials, and madeiras, is as extensive as the meat menu. Cowabunga!