Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pig & Khao

When the Feisty Foodie, Dessert Zombie, and FFBFF suggested Pig & Khao as the location of our Holiday Cookie Swap, I was a little hesitant. On my first visit there, some of the dishes failed. But they wanted to try it and who am I to say no to that? I arrived early and looked over the menu. Looks like that changed a bunch of things since I have last visited. That's good! Always a good sign that someone is checking on things.
We started with the chicharron ($4) again. These crispy little nuggets of fried pig skin dusted with five spice powder were delicious was always. The side of coconut vinegar added some acid to cut the fat but really it's unnecessary. No soggy chicharron for me.

We ordered a whole bunch of dishes to share. We tried to mix up the variety with some meat and vegetable choices. First up, the Chinese sausage salad ($9) with a mix of tomato, cucumber, toasted rice, shallot, coriander, and bibb lettuce dressed in a lime-fish sauce. Refreshing, bright, clean, and a good punch of sourness from the lime. The meaty, fatty pieces of sausage were tasty and made this dish more filling.
Next the grilled pork jowl ($13) with roasted brussels sprouts, toasted rice, lime chili, fish sauce, and herbs. This was a dish that I previously had. They changed it up using winter vegetables instead of summer watermelon. This rendition was better than the previous one. And the dish was bigger. The super fatty pieces of pork with the caramelized and sweet brussels sprouts obviously was a good pairing. The herbs and sauces cut through it making it lighter and easier to inhale.
The pork belly adobo ($13) was a really beautiful fish. Crispy, fatty pieces of pork glistening with a poached egg and herbs sitting in a broth of soy sauce and vinegar. Although I'm used to adobo dishes with proteins that are cooked in the sauce slowly, this rendition of the classic dish was showcasing the sauce as a separated broth instead. The pork and the egg (which was cooked perfectly) just added more flavor to the broth while the fresh herbs rounded it out. I just wish there were 4 pieces of that pork to share. We're greedy.
Next up the sizzling sisig ($14) with meat from a pigs's head, chili, and a whole egg. This dish comes sizzling hot to the table. You're supposed to mix the still raw egg around so that each piece of meat is covered. This was another dish that I had previously. My opinion about this dish hasn't changed. While tasty, it wasn't the best I've had. It was slightly better this time being more meaty but still not amazing to me. It was just missing something. I'm not sure what though.
A new item on the menu is the green rice crusted whole dorade ($18) with cockles, Chinese sausage, and yuzu dashi. I really enjoyed this. The fish was cooked until tender. The still juicy meat was covered in a crunchy layer of puffed rice that stayed crispy until the end. The plump little cockles graced the plate in a rich dashi broth. I could have spooned that sauce over my rice and shoveled away. But, I was eating in public. We all have sacrifices, you know?
Oh man, this was a lot of food already but we powered on. The order of the bbq baby back ribs ($25) wasn't that great. The ribs weren't cooked until tender. Now, I'm not a fan of fall off the bone tender but I wanted more tenderness in this meat. The flavor was nothing special either. It was similar to Chinese style ribs but texturally more chewy than I would like.
By this time I was so incredibly full. I was picking at the spare vegetables and herbs to try to venture onto the next and last dish which is the crispy pata ($26). This was no light dish. Fried pork leg with a side of green papaya slaw with a soy based dipping sauce and liver sauce. I only had a very small piece of this since I was too full to truly enjoy it. However, this version was much MUCH better than my previous experience which yielded dry, chewy meat. This was crispy, tender, and juicy. In hindsight, I wish I took some of this home but I think the Feisty Foodie was the happy recipient of that leftover.
Overall, my experience at Pig & Khao the second time around was better than my first. Some of the dishes were tweaked and made better. While other new dishes hit the mark on their first try and others not so much. After this visit, I'm much more inclined to suggest this place to people. Especially for groups because all the dishes are good for sharing.

For the Feisty Foodie's opinion of the meal, please click here.

Pig and Khao
68 Clinton Strett
New York, NY 10002
(212) 920-4485
pigandkhao.com

2 comments:

  1. I wish you'd taken the pata! I didn't want it. A lot of it went to waste - I really only wanted the liver sauce :x
    It's funny bc I re-read your old review and it sounded like you only really didn't like the crispy pata (which I didn't like this time), and were iffy on the sisig. I think this one was missing a hit of more acidity. Regardless, our bottomline opinion seems to still be the same: good for groups and sharing plates.

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    1. In think you actually offered it to me but I was too full to even think about taking more food even if I weren't eating it right away.

      I reread my post too and thought my memories of it were worse than what I had written. Hmm, maybe I was being nice to the place?

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