Paige recommended Maharlika, a modern Filipino joint in the East Village that really gets at the heart of southeast Asian cuisine.
We did it family style, which is the best way to tackle this menu to maximize your experience. We shared a wide-ranging set of entrees, from beer-battered spam fries (my first ever taste of spam!) to a sizzling sisig containing various parts of the pig — ears ,snout, cheek, you name it.
They’re very particular with their condiments here, offering specific sauces and spices to accompany each dish you order. It’s worth trying all if it.
There’s no subtlety in how they prepare their food and the flavors that come out of it. And as is customary to this region’s cuisine, you’ll find a layer of tangy sweetness across everything they serve.
Standouts included the pancit bihon, a large platter of rice vermicelli noodles topped with whole prawns and carrot and celery shavings, with discs of glazed water chestnuts mixed in. Carrots add that sweetness to it, but the noodles in this dish take center stage, a reminder of something really homey.
Same goes for the kare kare, a softly braised oxtail drenched in this peanut butter sauce that I promise you’ll want to soak up completely with a bowl of their garlic rice. The string beans and roasted eggplant are also broken down nicely,
There’s a sense of comfort the comes with dining here, a genuine departure from the commercialized thai or vietnamese joints that litter Manhattan. It’s one of those places where you go to unwind with a nice long dinner, with great company.