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Aug 30, 2007 08:19 AM

Filipino food in Woodside

I was in Queens for lunch a couple of days ago and randomly wandered into Baryo, on Roosevelt Avenue near 39th Avenue (really close to Sripraphai). They had a lunch buffet that wasn't transcendent, but decently tasty. The least gringo-ey item was a green vegetable dish that was very bitter. I liked it at first, but my palate got tired of the bitter sensation after a few bites. I also had a couple of chicken chunks with nice crunchy skin and flavor, and a barbeque pork that was fine. The rice options were white rice and fried rice; the fried rice was pleasingly subtle and non-greasy.

It's occured to me that I know little about the knot of Filipino restaurants around this section of Queens; a long time ago I ate at Ihawan and liked it, although the hours there make it difficult to plan to eat there easily (I live in Brooklyn, so Queens outings can't be too spontaneous). Any thoughts on the state of Woodside Filipino? Thanks.

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  1. I've always liked Renee's. I haven't been back this year. A lot of people prefer Ihawan. Baryo is new to me. I've always stayed away from the buffets since I think the food is better when cooked to order (also I can't stop eating and I gain weight).

    1. My husband and I used to mostly do Ihawan and occasionally Krystal's when Ihawan was closed, but since Engeline's opened (Roosevelt and 58th) we've gone there exclusively. This is not just because it's closer to our apartment (though it helps) or because it's a nicer space and less hectic (which it is), nor because the service is good ... but because the food is consistently fresh, well prepared, and everything just seems to be a step up from most of the other places we've been to. The prices are about the same or maybe slightly higher, but certainly worth it given the quality.

      13 Replies
      1. re: catherine

        Do you remember if Engeline's has avocado shakes?

        1. re: Puppimus

          Yes, they do have avocado shakes. Actually I had my first one ever there (before I always got the melon or buko juice) and I'm hooked. But I haven't tried them anywhere else, so I can't compare, but I can't imagine they could be too different. Funny, actually, I tried making one last night at home, and this morning noticed the thread about them on here. I guess it's that time of year?

          1. re: catherine

            I started that thread. I am obsessed with them. I've only ever had the version they make at Ba Xuyen, which does not have chocolate. It's 1/2 an avocado, light cream, condensed milk and a little sugar.
            How did you make yours, and how did it turn out? Actually, better post your answer on the avocado shake thread.

        2. re: catherine

          Catherine, other than the Avocado shakes, which sound great, what do you recommend at Engeline's? I noticed it for the first time only in the last couple weeks, and it looked inviting. I've got no history with Filipino restaurants in the neighborhood.

          1. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

            Definitely try the lumpiang sariwa (crepe with fresh vegetables & peanut sauce). It's a nice appetizer and we always get it. Otherwise, everything we've tried has been good. The sinigang dishes (soups with a tamarind broth), kare-kare (a beef dish in a peanut sauce), chicken adobo and grilled tilapia are all good choices.

            1. re: catherine

              I just ate at Engeline's last night and ordered the sizzling Sisig, finely chopped pork belly and onion "marinated" in lemon and hot sauce (actually had a lemon wedge and tobasco served on the side), the pork was too chewy, I wouldn't order that again. Probably should've gone with the milkfish belly instead.

              Also had a taro leaf & shrimp in coconut milk dish which was better.

              They were out of avocados last night! No shake for me. They didn't have the sweet corn either.

              Kare-kare is generally oxtail and often tripe, I've had the dish before in other Filipino restaurants (no tripe for me). Also there's usually eggplant, bok choy, and maybe string beans. Good stuff with the peanut sauce.

            2. re: MarcInSunnysideGardens

              We just had our second meal (and frankly, our first proper meal) at Engeline's yesterday night and it was superb! There were four of us and we ordered thusly (forgive me, i don't know the Filipino names but you wouldn't have any trouble ordering these items based on the descriptions):

              Lumpiang Shanghai - there are different types of Lumpiang, this is a common type which is wontons wrapped around delciously seasoned sausages and deepfried. We plowed through three orders and would have eaten more. Delicious!
              Pancit with seafood and special sauce - there are also various types of pancit on the menu, this one is made with rice noodles, calamari, shrimp and onions. The "special sauce" is, according to my Filipino friend, crushed up pork rinds with something else - they end up turning a sort of orangey color and get soft. Sounds odd, I realize, but it was so tasty that we went through three orders.
              Chicken Siopao - the only thing we ordered not worth getting. My friend said they were frozen. The filling was okay, but there was an awful lot of sweet flavored bread around it. Not recommended, save your stomach space for the other dishes.
              Jackfruit with pork and shrimp in coconut milk - this is what they recommended the first time we visited and it is lovely. The jackfruit, you'll swear for all the world that its some odd meat but it is indeed a fruit.
              Eggplant omelette with ground pork - tasty. Basically this was two smallish eggplants, cooked til soft, with a pork filled omelet somehow cooked around them. The eggplants remained mostly whole. I loved it, but the eggplant flavor is the most prominent taste.
              Our dining companions got extra food to go, ending us in a grand total of 5 orders of lumpiang shanghai, 5 orders of special sauce pancit, 4 siapao, 1 jackfruit with coconut milk and 1 eggplant omlette and five beers and one piece of cake for $100!
              The staff was so sweet and seemed really glad that they were there. I'm not a professional food critic, I'm afraid, but I'm happy to share with you all that Engeline's is definitely worth a visit. Enjoy!

              1. re: glorypea

                We, too, enjoyed some excellent Filipino fare in Woodside this weekend at Renee's. The portions were huge considering the prices and we sampled quite a few of the menu's offerings, but not the avocado shake which we just couldn't muster the open-mindedness to embrace that particular moment. The "SIDES" portion of the menu's price points were all in the $2-$3 range and from it we ordered garlic fried rice (nothing great, a bit of a burnt taste actually) an awesome single serving of BBQ pork on a stick (fantastic charred taste, lean meat) two pieces of the lumpia sarwia ( delicious cabbage and carrot stuffed crepes flecked with miniscule pieces of chopped pork and shrimp in a pleasant, sweetish brown sauce) a pork siabao, similar in looks to Chinese pork charsiubao, but entirely forgettable with steamed, flavorless pork and small diced globs of fat, and a pork empanada ( lovely flavor, not at all greasy) and tiny shrimp-filled spring rolls (huge amount for a paltry 3 bucks) to complement our order of seafood kare kare and chicken adobo. The seafood kare kare was a melange of heads on shrimp, mussels, and calamari rings in a spectacularly artifical flourescent orange-colored sauce that although supposedly peanut based, was basically flavorless even with the addition of the accompanying briny shrimp paste added in. The chicken adobo, in contrast, had a fresh, vinagery, galicky sauce that was awesome spooned over the plain white rice. We also enjoyed a fresh cantaloupe and fresh coconut juice with our meal and some roasted, sugary plantains on a stick and delicious banana-stuffed sweet egg rolls. Service was very friendly. A skewe rof BBQ sausage that we took to go for our slumbering chowpup proved to be lean and fine-ground with a hint of sweetness. Next time I would like to try the tocino- fried marinated roast pork- and one of the topsilog breakfast platters that seem to be served all day contrary to the limited times listed on the menu. The topsilog platters come with fried egg, rice and a choice of marinated and fried meat- pork, beef, chicken etc. Yum.

                On the way back to the car after a quick stop for some alfajores at the Uraguyan bakery, I decided to stop into Krystal's to see if Stassi canoli cakes were still being sold. They were indeed, however if the quality of the cake ( not sold by the slice) is anything like the canoli I tried, we're in trouble- cloyingly sweet and pasty. Major yuck-o. Such a shame. I loved Stassi for years. Krystal's did not dispappoint, however, with an absolutley scrumptious mashed fried banana french-toasty type of deep fried bread thing dusted with granulated sugar- warm crispy and carmelized and so, so good. Like a piece of banana bread pudding after a dip in the deep fryer....

                All in All a good day.

                All Things Delish,

                1. re: ZenFoodist

                  I'm really glad you liked Renee's. Strange about the seafood kare-kare. I ordered it and it was wonderful. Rich, flavorful, peanuty sauce the color of peanut butter. But several posters replied to my post that the seafood kare-kare was dreadful. I guess I got it on a good day, though most other dishes, especially my favorite sarciadong tilapia, which you might want to try next time, are consistently good each time you order.

                  1. re: Brian S

                    Hey Brian

                    What's the sarciadong tilapia all about?

                    We're big fish people, but a cursory look around the place that particlar day revealed most people's tables heaped with BBQ meat, so we tailored our order in a carnivorous way. I'd love a good fish dish next time.

                    1. re: ZenFoodist

                      Zen: According to the menu sarciadong tilapia is Fried Tilapia Smothered with Sauteed Egg & Tomatoes. It's on my list for the next visit. They also make this dish with Salmon. First visit was Seafood Kare Kare which I didn't like. I've only read good review regarding the sarciadong tilapia. They have several interesting seafood dishes.

                      1. re: ZenFoodist

                        Oh I described it in my post linked above: " What I got, Sarciadong Tilapia, was one of the best Filipino meals ever. A whole tilapia fish was cooked and topped with diced tomatoes, minced onion and scrambled egg. It was almost literally swimming in a bright red broth made with stock, lots of garlic, and tomatoes. The broth was probably a legacy of the centuries of Spanish rule

                        1. re: Brian S

                          Not sure about how I feel about the egg addition.

                          I'm fairly Sicilian in my fish quirks- no cheese, no cream, no nothing really except for olive oil, garlic, lemon, and sometimes, just sometimes, capers, olives, oregano, or tomato....

                          Egg...Hmmm. I will see.

            3. Hey Jack-

              Here's a list of Filipino restaurants, some in the city:

              Queens is usually too long of a trip for me as well.