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I especially admire Bad Saint’s refusal to translate Filipino food into the European-derived idioms of fine dining.
When the servers say the dishes are served family style, they mean it.
With a woven Filipino mat on the wall and light filtering down from geometric slashes in a ceiling of oxidized-steel tiles, the restaurant has a certain compulsory intimacy.
It’s easy to strike up a conversation with somebody, although it won’t necessarily be the somebody you arrived with.
Now the selection is almost long enough to be called a list, and is wisely centered on lively, aromatic bottles like a red grenache from Tarragona or a still white from Catalonia that is a blend of xarello and riesling.
The beers are even more esoteric and reflect this restaurant’s easy assurance that people come here to be turned on to something new.
This is not an ideal ratio, but at least I had company.
Bad Saint, in this city’s Columbia Heights neighborhood, has never taken reservations since it began operating in 2015.
In the Philippines, laing would be made by stewing dried taro leaves in coconut milk.
My guests were even more dubious about pancit canton, a Filipino lo mein that can be reassuringly bland. Cunanan, with lots of royal trumpet mushrooms and a steady thrum of Calabrian chiles, it is startlingly good. Villamora and her partner in the restaurant, Nick Pimentel, have Filipino heritage but were born and raised in the United States. Malo, La., the first Filipino settlement in this country.) Mr.
Cunanan was born in the Philippines and has called his mother his main inspiration in the kitchen.
The oxtails and bok choi stewed in peanut sauce with an intense undercurrent of shrimp and anchovies is amazing whether this is your first encounter with kare-kare or your hundredth.
I love bitter melon, but even the skeptics I’d brought with me were won over by Bad Saint’s stir-fry, in which the vegetable’s aggressive tendencies are offset by fermented black beans, softened by eggs and sweetened by a topcoat of fried shallots.Blankets appear as the weather gets chilly; in scheduling my meals for this review, I watched the approach of winter as anxiously as covered-wagon pioneers eyed the clouds over the Donner Pass.