Full-throttle flavors from the Philippines and Thailand are winning over Chowhounds at Pig and Khao, the new collaboration of Chef Leah Cohen (Centro Vinoteca, TV's Top Chef) and the team behind Fatty Crab and Fatty 'Cue. In a recent discussion, foodwhisperer says Cohen's take on sisig (pictured), a sizzling hash of pork head meat with liver, chile, and egg, is right on target, as is a green mango salad with grilled chicken, lemongrass, and herbs. Hounds also recommend quail adobo, crispy pata (fried pork leg with pickled green mango), whole fried fish in hot-and-sour broth, and spicy fried oyster with white pepper–calamansi sauce.
As CHOW's John Birdsall observed, this two-month-old restaurant exemplifies a welcome trend: Asian restaurants that arrive fully liberated from the ethnic ghetto, with mainstream expectations (and media attention). Yet Pig and Khao remains true to its roots: foodwhisperer says the dishes from the Philippines, where the chef's mother was born, have "the right taste"—in part because of details like Datu Puti vinegar, a staple in many Filipino households. Mom has even been spotted in the house, lending homey quality control to what comes out of the tiny open kitchen. "Basically," foodwhisperer adds, "the place is awesome."
Pig and Khao [Lower East Side]
68 Clinton Street (between Stanton and Rivington streets), Manhattan
Photo from Pig and Khao