Pig & Khao

68 Clinton St. New York, NY 10002 • (212) 920-4485pigandkhao.com

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I have only eaten at the Madison Eats representation, but what I had while respectable, was also not quite as worthy of the praise it’s been getting on the street.

The Bahn Mi is solid. The meat perfectly moist and the roll very nice in texture. But the flavors from the rest of the toppings just didn’t seem to cut through, so it ended up tasting like meat, bread and Sriracha. Granted there are worse things I suppose, but there are also better Bahn Mi sandwiches.

And as for the spring rolls, while delicious, they are so damn oily I couldn’t help but feel I was drinking a bottle of Soul Glo from “Coming to America.”

But to judge them by such a myopic sampling seems a touch unfair, so please take this review with a grain of oil- er, I mean salt.

2 teeth

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The Ultimate Fried Chicken

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ABC Kitchen – New York, NY

The South has nothing on this bird (pictured). Prepared in such a way that seems more derivative of fish and chips, the chicken winds up coming out like a juicy, poultry breaded bag of bliss. The other thing that winds up happening is you make everyone else at the table jealous they didn’t order the chicken.

 

Maharlika – New York, NY

Prior to Maharlika I really didn’t get the whole chicken and waffles thing. And yes, I tried it, so don’t get all Green Eggs and Ham on me. And what’s weird about it is that I love both dishes independently, just not together. Well, maybe that’s because no one else was doing it right. So leave it to a Filipino restaurant to show me how Southern cooking is supposed to be. Go figure. Gotta love New York though. So what’s so great about ‘em? I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I mean the fact that the waffles are purple is aesthetically unique, but I doubt that’s the reason. Moistness is, however a huge part of it. The waffle wasn’t dry, which is my usual gripe with this dish. The other plus was sweetness, again, a miss with so many other posers. I mean on a philosophical level, isn’t the purpose of this dish the contrast of savory and sweet? Well, Maharlika gets it. And now so do I.

Maharlika

111 1st Ave. New York, NY 10003(646) 392-7880maharlikanyc.com

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While I definitely like places like this, a little more down and dirty, away from all the pomp and circumstance of what it means to be fine dining in NYC (which I also love, don’t get me wrong), I found the decor a little too down and a little too dirty. In fact, decor is such an afterthought here, I literally don’t think they thought about it at all. And by sitting us between the bus station and the kitchen, even though we had a reservation, certainly didn’t help. So that explains the docking of one star.

As for the other star, service was fine, so it wasn’t that. It was actually the food. Which pains me to say it, because I also loved it. I think one of the other reviewers had the same criticism, that while ALL of the dishes are filled with terrific flavors, they simply need to up their game on how to cook some of the meat. For example, the spare ribs were a touch dry and the short rib was very dry too. Meanwhile, the oxtail was as moist as can be, more like the short ribs should have been.

As for some of the other dishes, the special shrimp starter was the weakest of everything. No flavor comparatively to other dishes. The pork belly, while good, and an interesting blend of textures, was VERY difficult to eat, because you practically needed a power saw to slice into it. This was perhaps an inflamed issue, because we literally had to ask for knives at the table three times.

Spam fries with banana ketchup were good, but what is the level of difficulty here? You’ve got fatty reconstituted meat battered and deep fried and dipped in sweet ketchup.

Desserts were passable, one being coconut flan, which I’m not a fan of categorically. The other being the Mango cheesecake, which I liked, because the hint of mango gave a lightness to an otherwise heavy dessert. But outstanding it wasn’t.

So, why the three knives then, after all of this bitching and moaning? Because I saved the best for last. The eggplant side dish is just awesome. As is the fried chicken and waffles (pictured)- best I’ve ever had. So perfectly cooked I could honestly go back just for that (okay, and the eggplant).

3 teeth