Thursday, February 14, 2013


A while ago, I met up with Feisty Foodie and Dessert Zombie to trade cookies and baked goods for the holidays. Yeah, it was that long ago. To offset all the sweet we would consume later that week, we went and had filipino food at Maharlika. I'm not very familiar with filipino food at all but was always interested in learning more about it. I had it once during the summer in Flushing and now I was going to try a modern take on the food in the winter.
Mahalika is a very small restaurant seating at most 20 people. You will be cramped. But think less of the space and more of the food to come. Get friendly with your guests and just enjoy the night. After we got to our table and looked over the menu, we ordered a great variety of different things. The waiter said that it was a lot of food but we convinced him we were hungry.
Before any of the food arrived, we sipped on our cocktails: Baguio Breeze and Pacquiao's Punch. We also snacked on the house made cracklins. These super crunchy and salty fried chicken skins were divine. I think we wanted a bowl of these for the night. But we knew that a lot of food was coming our way.
Spam fries ($7) was ordered out of curiosity. Beer battered and deep fried until golden and crunchy. These were really interesting. The spam inside was soft and warm while the crust was light and crunchy. The grease factor was intense though. This is not something you can eat a lot of. With that said, I probably wouldn't order these again. It was more of a novelty.
The Lumpiang Barquillos ($8) were absolutely fantastic. The super crispy cigars filled with meat and vegetables were too good. These are extra long which I've never seen before. So a serving is more like 2.5 spring rolls. Very well executed and very well flavored. Again, I could just chow down on a bowl of these. So good.
Next was the Lechon Kiwali ($12) which is a crispy pork belly with sauteed kang kong (water spinach). Again, very crispy. I'm pretty sure they know how to fry properly here. Unfortunately, I think the meat was a bit dry. I think it's due to the pre-slicing of the meat. The thin pieces really dried out.
And now the main dishes. Did you think those were the main dishes? Nope! We're ballers. Hahaha! Anyway, here's the Sisig ($16) that comes sizzling in the pan with an egg on top. They present the dish then mix up the offal until it looks more like a hash. What kind of offal you say? Pigs ear, snout, and fatty belly. Savory, meaty, porky, filling. Again, can't have too much of this but it was good. Perfect over rice.
Speaking of rice, the sisig was served with garlic fried rice. This was really good rice. Each and every grain was covered in garlic flavor with pieces of fried garlic strewn throughout. We liked this so much that we ordered a second bowl ($4).
To switch it up a bit, we had the Pancit Bihon ($16) which is a rice vermicelli dish cooked with chicken, various vegetables, and a poached egg. The egg was unfortunately overcooked but that was just minor because the noodles were excellent. Great texture, great flavor. So complex with layers of flavor and yet so simple.
The special of the night was Lamb Adobo (~$20) and Dessert Zombie was all over it. This braised leg of lamb was sweet and salty and extremely tender. It practically fell off the bone without being mushy. I hate overly soft meats. It was served with kang kong (water spinach) and a mashed sweet potato.
To offset all the meat intake, we ordered an extra side of the kang kong (water spinach - $6) which was sauteed in garlic and oil. A nice refreshing yet flavorful way to serve vegetables. This hit the spot and balanced our meal out.
After our meal, the waiter was quite impressed that we finished the dishes. We did tell him we were hungry. We were about to skip dessert until we found out what the ice cream flavors were for the day: cheddar cheese, ube (purple yam), and avocado. The cheddar cheese was not that good. Chunks of cheese was found in the scoop and it wasn't very creamy. The ube and the avocado were more smooth and ice cream like. I liked the ube the best as it's naturally sweet.
Overall I really enjoyed Maharlika. Despite the small space, the food was excellent and the service friendly. Sure it's pricey for filipino food but the execution was perfect. Each and every dish (minus the pork belly) was excellent. I wouldn't hesitate to go back.

111 1st Avenue
New York, NY
(646) 392-7880


  1. Lumpia cigars!!

  2. love this restaurant...too bad they don't take credit cards


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