This week, Our Man Sietsema is at Philippu Lounge Y Restaurante, an oddly named Filipino spot in Ravenswood, Queens.
Our Man breaks it down for us: This restaurant tones down the pungency and amps up the Spanish influences (the Philippines were a Spanish colony) in order to appeal to more of the neighborhood. Quoth Our Man:
A case in point is lechon kawali ($7.98), pork belly fried deep-brown and cut into juicy segments. It’s a dead ringer for Dominican chicharron de cerdo, though Dominicans wouldn’t recognize the sweet brown dipping sauce served on the side. (“It contains liver,” cautioned the waitress, though she might better have warned us how sweet it was.) Another good example is the shrimp rebosado, an overflowing plate of battered and fried shrimp with a sweet chile sauce that could belong to a half-dozen cuisines. The entrée comes with smashed, double-fried green plantains, which the menu identifies by their Dominican name of tostones.
But there are several more traditional Filipino dishes that Our Man particularly likes: the chicken adobo, for one, and the kare kare, a peanutty oxtail stew.
You can tell Our Man is rooting for this restaurant, but he concludes that it isn’t getting the volume of diners that it’ll need to stay in business. So go check it out, quick!