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PIg and Khao is AWESOME

foodwhisperer Oct 7, 2012 09:20 AM

This new Asian/Filipino spot recently opened. Top Chef's Leah Cohen is owner/chef ( her mom is Filipina), is there every night overseeing every meal that is cooked and expediting orders. It is located in the old Falai space on Clinton St. I was recently there and the place was packed. The sizzling sisig was excellent , as was the mango salad with chicken breast, and the coconut rice. The quail adobo was unbelievable. The crispy pata was delicious, but not served the traditional way , on the bone. Nonetheless, a fantastic dish. I watched them prepare other nice dishes , of mussels, a grilled pork jowl dish, a lamb dish and Khao Soi. they even have halo halo or turon .
The service is excellent. The staff very friendly. Basically, the place is awesome.

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  1. l
    Lau RE: foodwhisperer Oct 7, 2012 10:27 AM

    hmm very interesting, close to my place

    1. Phil Ogelos RE: foodwhisperer Oct 8, 2012 09:31 AM

      NY1 did a very complimentary piece on Cohen and the restaurant this morning; link is here - http://www.ny1.com/content/lets_eat/z...

      1. h
        H Manning RE: foodwhisperer Oct 8, 2012 10:06 AM

        I'm dying to try it. No desserts?

        10 Replies
        1. re: H Manning
          foodwhisperer RE: H Manning Oct 8, 2012 04:42 PM

          I didn't have room for dessert, but they have turon and the most popular Filipino dessert halo halo
          I read the link Phil Ogelos posted above, i didn't know they were associated with the Fatty Crab folks. I personally don't like the food at Fatty Crab, but the food here is excellent and mostly Filipino food.

          1. re: foodwhisperer
            JungMann RE: foodwhisperer Oct 9, 2012 10:45 AM

            As soon as I heard they serve pancit palabok I tried to assemble a group immediately for my annual birthday serving. Sadly no dice, but I may have to make an exception for another helping of heart attack on a plate quite soon. Did the Filipino dishes hold their own against the Thai elements in the menu or were they lacking that lasang pinoy?

            1. re: JungMann
              foodwhisperer RE: JungMann Oct 9, 2012 03:30 PM

              I ate at the bar, but i had a choice of a table if i wanted it. I prefer the bar, since there were 2 of us. I like communicating with the staff , who cook in front of you. The menu changes, possibly daily , i'm not sure. They didn't have palabok or any kind of pancit when i was there. The Filipino dishes had " the right taste". They use the same suka most Filipinos use, Datu Puti. The owner's mom corrects or helps with fixing the taste right. Their liver sauce is fantastic. The quail adobo was perfectly seasoned. They hold their own , on the dishes i had. Although I like eating crispy para off the bone, not filet of crispy para, but non Filipinos, probably prefer it the way they do it. I went late on a weekend night.

              1. re: foodwhisperer
                Pan RE: foodwhisperer Oct 10, 2012 04:21 AM

                What does suka mean in Tagalog? In Malay, it means "like," as in to like something. Is it a condiment?

                1. re: Pan
                  JungMann RE: Pan Oct 10, 2012 06:21 AM

                  Suka is the Tagalog word for vinegar. Filipino food is usually presented with a variety of condiments for dipping and enlivening dishes. Suka at bawang (vinegar and garlic) is one of the more common options.

                  1. re: JungMann
                    foodwhisperer RE: JungMann Oct 10, 2012 06:51 AM

                    Some varieties add onions, hot pepper and garlic. Datu Puti makes a really good one. At Maharlika i usually ask for some chopped chills to add to my suka.

                    1. re: JungMann
                      Pan RE: JungMann Oct 10, 2012 09:29 PM

                      And bawang is the generic word for onion in Malay, though bawang putih ("white onion") means garlic. Thanks for the explanation.

                      1. re: Pan
                        foodwhisperer RE: Pan Oct 11, 2012 06:39 AM

                        There are several foods in the Philipines that are similar to those in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China etc. and i think have similar names i.e. Kang Kong ( water spinach)

                        1. re: foodwhisperer
                          Pan RE: foodwhisperer Oct 11, 2012 11:41 AM

                          Yep, that is the same name.

                          I used to go to Elvie's Turo-Turo, and a lot of her food was similar to the village food I used to have in Terengganu, on the East Coast of the Malay Peninsula, in the 1970s, except that her food wasn't halal and she served pork and pork sausage.

                  2. re: foodwhisperer
                    JungMann RE: foodwhisperer Oct 10, 2012 06:26 AM

                    One or two of the press releases I got prior to opening were talking up the chicharron and shrimp noodles -- I'm going to have to hope they've maybe kept it on the menu as a special or under some hipsterized name. Of all Filipino dishes, I've got to think that pork crackling noodles with head sauce has got the makings of a future trend.

                    And thanks for the write up. The crispy pata and liver sauce sound mouthwatering.

            2. r
              rrems RE: foodwhisperer Oct 9, 2012 09:36 AM

              Did you have to wait for a table? I'm thinking about trying it tonight but I've read about horrible wait times.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rrems
                rrems RE: rrems Oct 9, 2012 07:25 PM

                So, I called and asked about how long the wait would be at around 8 or 8:30. I was told there would probably not be a wait. We arrived and were given a choice of being seated at the bar immediately or at a table in 10 minutes. We liked the idea of bar seating better so were happy with that. We ordered 2 small and 2 large plates, plus an order of coconut rice, for the 2 of us, and we were stuffed. The quail, sisig and whole fried fish were delicious, the lamb good but a bit heavy and lacking in flavor, still a good dish but just not up to the level of the others. I would love to come back and try more dishes. Sitting facing the kitchen added to the experience.

                1. re: rrems
                  foodwhisperer RE: rrems Oct 9, 2012 10:12 PM

                  Glad you enjoyed. The quail adobo and sisig they do a great job. You should try the crispy para, even off the bone, it does have a lot of flavor. The coconut rice is really good. Was the owner expediting the orders?

                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                    rrems RE: foodwhisperer Oct 10, 2012 06:08 AM

                    Next time I will try the para. Yes, she was right in front of us running the kitchen, very efficiently.

              2. t
                Tommy D. RE: foodwhisperer Oct 10, 2012 02:11 PM

                Great reports on this thread. I hope to try Pig and Khao soon.

                Fyi, Jeepney, another Filipino restaurant from the owners of Maharlika, will be opening soon (tomorrow?) at 201 First Avenue (12th Street).


                15 Replies
                1. re: Tommy D.
                  foodwhisperer RE: Tommy D. Oct 10, 2012 08:02 PM

                  Jeepney will be more traditional than Maharlika, and trying to attract a different audience. Its in the old Sa Aming nayon spot. They will have a nice back yard. They also bring a well known chef with them. Should be good. The link also shows, El Faro closing. They were on Horatio St. way back when nothing was there. 85 years and closing.

                  1. re: foodwhisperer
                    JungMann RE: foodwhisperer Oct 11, 2012 06:40 AM

                    The Jeepney teasers make it sound like the restaurant aims to be as flamboyant as its namesake vehicles, like a Manhattan Pork Slope, but it would be a great relief if they went traditional. Manhattan lost a rare taste of the Philippines when Sa Aming Nayon closed. Do you know who the chef is to be?

                    1. re: JungMann
                      Tommy D. RE: JungMann Oct 11, 2012 07:19 AM


                      >>>Chef-partner Miguel Trinidad collaborates with Daniel “Chino” Parilla, Minetta Tavern sous-chef and a consultant here, on dishes like fried-fishbone salad, chicken-fat wings, and a longga burger made with skinless sausage, Kewpie-Maggi aïoli, and banana ketchup.<<<

                      1. re: Tommy D.
                        JungMann RE: Tommy D. Oct 11, 2012 07:31 AM

                        That does not sound traditional. That sounds like what happens when I come home drunk and raid the fridge.

                        1. re: JungMann
                          Tommy D. RE: JungMann Oct 11, 2012 07:45 AM


                          1. re: Tommy D.
                            JungMann RE: Tommy D. Oct 11, 2012 07:59 AM

                            It's funny what gets lost in translation. Now that I've read the Filipino names, the menu sounds ambitiously traditional. The Luzon tamales have got me very intrigued. This is the first restaurant outside California I've heard of serving up Filipino tamales and in a style quite different from the Ilocano tamales I know.

                            1. re: JungMann
                              Tommy D. RE: JungMann Oct 11, 2012 08:20 AM

                              I wouldn't know what traditional is but my Filipina girlfriend thought it was ambitious of them to offer pinakbet.

                          2. re: JungMann
                            foodwhisperer RE: JungMann Oct 12, 2012 07:58 PM

                            LMAO on the raiding the fridge.
                            Jeepney is supposed to be traditional, but the menu will leave out many traditional dishes. Sa Aming Nayon, did not have good food. It was supposed to be food from Baguio, but the chef was not from there , nor did he know how to make the food from there. Their Pinakbet was horrible. Jeepney can make the old Sa Aming Nayon spot nice if they fix up the backyard and maybe enclose it for winter. Tito Rad's is the best in queens, especially for the sizzling sisig and the lechon kawali and the dinuguan. The adobo is very good there, and Filipinos eat adobo in restaurants often. The quail adobo at Pig and Khao is excellent with the perfect adobo taste.
                            Tonite I had the Vietnamese fried oysters in a white pepper sauce at Pig and Khao. Crispy and excellent. I ate other things as well. But this was a good dish. They did not have any pork crackling noodles , nor did they offer palabok, or any kind of pancit The Vietnamese coffee I am happy they have.

                        2. re: JungMann
                          Pan RE: JungMann Oct 11, 2012 11:44 AM

                          I wasn't impressed with Sa Aming Nayon, the time or two I went. For example, their adobo was too strongly and one-dimensionally vinegary to me. By contrast, I had adobo at a restaurant in Sunnyside that was subtler, made with better chicken - just better.

                          1. re: Pan
                            JungMann RE: Pan Oct 11, 2012 01:47 PM

                            Which restaurant did you go to in Queens? I'm of the opinion that few Filipino restaurants bother with their adobo because most of their clientele would rather make/eat it at home. The reason Sa Aming Nayon stood out, though, was because they offered a variety far beyond just adobo, much of it done well, when options for Filipino were otherwise pretty bleak in Manhattan. And to be honest, those options are still pretty weak, which is why Jeepney is conceptually interesting for going original with Pinoy-American comfort food. It's a concept that has worked in other cities, but they'll be the first folks to do it in NYC.

                            1. re: JungMann
                              Pan RE: JungMann Oct 12, 2012 01:07 AM

                              Tito Rad's - Woodside, not Sunnyside. We had chicken adobo (the same dish I had at Sa Aming Nayon). I am not a maven of Filipino food, but I found its flavors perfectly balanced.

                              1. re: Pan
                                foodwhisperer RE: Pan Oct 26, 2012 11:58 AM

                                IMHO well not so humble, Tito Rad's has the best Filipino food in the city. Excluding BBQ, Ihawan has the best Filipino BBQ. That being said, The sisig at Pig and Khao ( if you ask them to add a few chills) compares with Tito Rad's. The thing I like about Pig and Khao , is you are not limited to only Filipino food. You can mix it up with Thai Khao Soi ( not as "soupy" as I've had in Chiang Mai), or some fried oyster in a Vietnamese white pepper sauce, or the lamb ribs ,,,I have no idea what style of cooking the lamb ribs are, it actually tasted very Middle Eastern or Indian, with a yogurt sauce and pickled beets on the side and some Naan. The food is very well prepared , and as I said, I recommend this place highly.

                                1. re: foodwhisperer
                                  Ffromsaopaulo RE: foodwhisperer Jan 3, 2013 08:58 PM

                                  Thanks for drawing Pig and Khao to my attention, foodwhisperer. We've just had a wonderful dinner there: pork jowl (we were a party of 3, had to order it twice), quail adobo, mussels, lamb ribs and fish. I would definitely go back shortly should I live in NY.

                                  1. re: Ffromsaopaulo
                                    foodwhisperer RE: Ffromsaopaulo Jan 3, 2013 09:28 PM

                                    I'm glad you enjoyed it. I like all the dishes you ordered. If you get back there try the sizzling sisig, the fried oysters, the crispy pata, and the khao soi, and green papaya salad. All really good too.

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer
                                      Ffromsaopaulo RE: foodwhisperer Jan 4, 2013 05:21 AM

                                      Good to know about the other dishes. We wanted the crispy pata, but unfortunately they were out of it.

                    2. m
                      MrGrumpy RE: foodwhisperer Mar 12, 2013 02:51 PM

                      Pete Wells gave two stars each to Pig & Khao and Jeepney. I must try balut.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MrGrumpy
                        foodwhisperer RE: MrGrumpy Mar 13, 2013 04:20 PM

                        I tried to reply but it kept bouncing back. If I end up with 3 replies, i'm sorry. Balut at Jeepney as well as Maharlika attracts people who are drinking that want to try something that looks pretty scary. The taste of the juice inside is good, but getting past chewing a fetus is rough. The burger at Jeepney , although , you'll never find it in the Phillipines, tastes really good. I think the Malabok is really Palabok. It's a seafood pasta with squid ink, the faste is also good but the style is different.
                        Pig and Khao, has great Khao Soi and great sisig, as well as crispy pata. The lamb that Pete Wells liked , taste good, but for me Middle Eastern flavor doesn't go with this type of food.
                        I am happy that they both got 2 stars. I enjoy both places.

                        1. re: foodwhisperer
                          JungMann RE: foodwhisperer Mar 14, 2013 08:02 AM

                          I need someone to walk me through the menu at Jeepney because I never walk away understanding the high praise for the Maharlikans. Maybe I am ordering the wrong things, but I feel like any restaurant targeting the deep fried demographic should be able to serve their crunchy foods actually crispy. Especially when they spend so much time winding a tale just to explain how delicious it will be when the crisp lumpia shell gives way to a soft pork filling, which mingles soufully with the sweet and sour flavors of banana ketchup. Perhaps everything just goes soggy while they are explaining how to eat a spring roll.

                          The malabok is a mash up of pancit malabon and pancit palabok. That's the dish I wanted to order (along with the dinuguan), but my guests went in another direction. I have plans to visit Pig and Khao this weekend (provided the weather cooperates) so I'll try to steer our party towards your recommendations.

                          1. re: JungMann
                            foodwhisperer RE: JungMann Mar 14, 2013 04:15 PM

                            Ahhh so they mixed malabon and palabok to form the word malabok. I should have thought of that. I know malabon is usually wetter than palabok and bison, But anyway , I have my doubts on the dinuguan at Jeepney. Grill 21 dinuguan is decent but inconsistent. Tito Rad's has good dinuguan. The arroz caldo at Jeepney if you had it, I am sure you thought " what is this?" it's more like a pudding, I don't recommend that.
                            At Pig and Khao, the chef/owner Leah Cohen's mom is Filipina, so the chef does get help in the Filipino food from her mom. The quail adobo has "the right taste". The cripy para, is different from usual , in that they take the meat of the bone. The dish is very tasty and plentiful. The sizzling sisig is very good ( not very large size). The green mango salad is very good. They usually have dried salmon chips, they are excellent, a Filipino favorite.
                            The chef spent time in Thailand and Vietnam, and her Khao Soi is good, and the fried oysters have a Vietnamese lemon pepper sauce is real good.
                            Pig and Khao now has on weekends, a Filipino brunch. Based on the Filipino Christmas meal I had there, they have pancit bihon, lechon kawali, bbq, ticino, lumpiang shanghai,Sinigang, and more. So the brunch should be good.
                            They have a fantastic version ( everyday) of halo halo. I highly recommend that dessert.

                      2. JungMann RE: foodwhisperer Mar 25, 2013 11:08 AM

                        I've been meaning to visit Pig and Khao for a while, but it's been impossible to get reservations at a reasonable hour for dinner. This weekend, however, I got lucky. There's not much I can add that foodwhisperer hasn't said already. The khao soi and pata were great, although the sisig has to be my favorite dish on the menu. If there was anything I had to complain about, it would just be the rip off that is the $15 draft beer service, considering the drafts didn't work and once they run out of beer, you're out of luck regardless if you've had one or one hundred. Portions are also smaller than I expected, but this is only a problem for group diners.

                        What I especially liked about the place was how confident it was without having to sell itself. Service was low key, but attentive. Dishes were served straightforward and casually served and though I know they had a full night of bookings, I didn't feel rushed when we lingered a little longer on some courses and drinks. I will definitely be back.

                        1. p
                          peter j RE: foodwhisperer Apr 22, 2013 06:40 AM

                          Awesome indeed. We ordered about eight dishes loved everything, particularly the sisig and crispy pata. The delicious turon was served with salted caramel ice cream. Nice vibe, friendly service. We'll be back for the khao soi.

                          1. m
                            MrGrumpy RE: foodwhisperer May 24, 2013 11:15 AM

                            Pig & Khao now has a five course tasting menu for the unbelievable price of $39. Recently they served:

                            soft boiled quail egg
                            house dressing
                            crispy garlic

                            grilled octopus
                            charred green chili sauce

                            sizzling sisig
                            whole egg
                            coconut rice

                            pork adobo
                            sous vide egg

                            halo halo

                            So much food, all very delicious. My only quibble was the repeated ingredients, i.e. egg in the amuse, sisig, and adobo, and pork in the latter two dishes, but otherwise the tasting menu featured a nice sampling of their specialties. Enjoyed it and we'll definitely return.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: MrGrumpy
                              foodwhisperer RE: MrGrumpy May 25, 2013 04:26 AM

                              I suggest you try the fried oysters, khao soi, crispy para. These are my favorite dishes.

                              1. re: MrGrumpy
                                princeofpork3 RE: MrGrumpy Feb 14, 2014 10:59 AM

                                We were lucky enough to get 2 seats at the counter and order the tasting. So delicious across the board. Only comlaint woul dbe how salty the pork with brussel sprouts was. Way over dressed as well. The halo desert was excellent. Had to dry clean my entire outfit after as we stunk!!

                                1. re: princeofpork3
                                  foodwhisperer RE: princeofpork3 Feb 15, 2014 02:32 AM

                                  The pork with brussel sprouts is a dish I never had there. Mostly I stick with sisig, crispy pata, fried oysters, khao soi and halo halo. The dry cleaners is always the next stop. My Korean Bbq meals alo get my dry cleaners extra business.

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