Maharlika and Bar Kada make nice
Longsilog, tortang talong, and sizzling sisig: Suddenly, a stretch of First Avenue is awash in tongue-twisting Filipino delights.
To learn your tapsilog from your tocilog, head to the East Village, where two Filipino upstarts (located on the very same street) will happily introduce you to Pinoy flavors. Talk about good neighbors.
Maharlika: Now in its own brick-and-mortar location with full-fledged lunch and dinner menus, this onetime pop-up still works wonders with brunch. Eggs Imelda ($16) arrives with tart kalamansi-flavored hollandaise on fluffy pan de sal bread, and it's flanked by grilled prawns and fresh taro-root leaves. Dinner is meatier, with platters of sizzling sisig ($16), pork ears, snout and belly shot through with onions and garlic, and kare kare ($20), succulent oxtail stew braised in peanut sauce with long beans and eggplant.
Bar Kada: The owner of this Sunday-only pop-up is searching for a storefront of his own, but in the interim he is putting out a formidable breakfast. Eggs and garlic-fried rice ($9) come with a hefty portion of tocilog (candy-sweet cured ham) or dasilog (tender fried milkfish). The Filipino version of chicken-noodle soup, arroz caldo ($6), is laced with ginger and saffron, while laing ($8), dried taro leaves simmered in coconut milk with pork and shrimp paste, is unique and comforting.
Maharlika, 111 First Ave. (at Seventh St.); 646-392-7880 or maharlikanyc.com
Bar Kada, Sundays 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. at Ugly Kitchen, 103 First Ave. (between Sixth and Seventh sts.); 212-777-6677
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