Restaurant Review: Kaliwa

Restaurant Review: Kaliwa

for lots chefs, few figures loom as large and mythic as the specter of the grandmother. Nonna, Meemaw, Lola—whatever you call her, she has released more restaurants than McDonald’s Ray Kroc.

The latest on this style is Kaliwa, the pan-Asian waterfront eating room from Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong, the husband-and-spouse owners of antique town’s lately shuttered restaurant Eve and Eamonn’s. How, you may ask, did Cathal, a white man from Dublin, wind up turning out (excellent) Filipino dishes like bird adobo and lumpia? I don’t even want to inform you to credit score Philippines-born Meshelle’s grandma and the training she imparted to Cathal in her Manila condominium kitchen decades in the past.

Kaliwa—flashy and loud and accomplished up in basket lamps, purple banquettes, and cane chairs—feels nothing like DC’s maximum famous Filipino spot, horrific Saint (or any of the opposite cool-child Asian places which have proliferated for the past 5 years). The restaurant takes reservations, the servers deign to warn diners about spiciness levels, and the kitchen doesn’t boundary-push timid palates with whatever more than uncooked red meat.

but right here, safe doesn’t imply boring, at least in terms of the Filipino quit of the menu. (The web page is similarly divided into three elements and also contains Korean and Thai dishes.) That’s way to Armstrong’s deep familiarity with the delicacies but also to his range-two within the kitchen, Paolo Dungca, a Philippines native who left awful Saint to paintings with Armstrong 3 years ago.

Their adobo, a peppery braise of chook legs and thighs laced with apple-cider vinegar, is the sort of comfort dish I ought to devour as soon as a week. those lumpia—long, cigar-like fried rolls stuffed with beef and shrimp—have a near-ideal shatter while you're taking a chew. A tangle of pancit canton, a dish of residence-made ramen noodles threaded with chinese language sausage, shrimp, and wood-ear mushrooms, practically crackles with gingery taste.

when eating place Eve opened in 2004, the food international become at top red meat belly, and even then Armstrong stood out for his deftness with what was formerly a peasant reduce. here he performs round with it two methods, and both are well worth ordering. There’s the pores and skin-on lechon kawali, which is brined for 3 days before it’s braised, after which deep-fried till it reaches that comfortable crispness you usually dream of locating at pig roasts. Then there’s what Armstrong calls “street fish fry,” skewers of grilled pork belly painted in banana ketchup (residence-made, like definitely every condiment here). What makes those dishes so interesting is how balanced they are—simply as vinegary or citrusy as they are smoky or sweet.

The best cakes are Filipino, too. They encompass the shaved-ice extravaganza referred to as halo-halo and the coconut-rice cake bibingka (deliciously rippled with a melted slice of Edam cheese).

in case you venture someplace else on the menu, I’d spend greater time in Thailand than in Korea. The couple selected to focus on the former cuisine because they like to devour it of their off-time—Duangrat’s in Bailey’s Crossroads is their vicinity—and the latter due to the fact Cathal was stimulated by his tae kwon do exercise (he ran each of his dishes with the aid of his Korean coaches).

in the Thai category, the kitchen amps up the spiciness sufficient to fulfill maximum chili-heads. Clams in black-bean sauce, creamy red curry with blue crab, and stir-fried inexperienced beans all sound a lot greater innocent than they taste. still, the need to-get dish is the relatively mellow rib eye, grilled and splashed with an addictive lemongrass-and-lime sauce.

The Korean segment may want to use greater significant tweaking. regardless of its abundance of clean seafood—blue catfish, Manila clams, mussels, and squid—and the clear care Armstrong places into the dish, the stew known as jjampong comes off as a humdrum cowl music. So, too, grilled complete porgy smothered in a ruddy brown sauce laced with sesame, soy, and fermented chili powder. Panchan, little veggie dishes and condiments which are plentiful (and free) in maximum Korean restaurants, come off as stingy of their five tiny bowls for $10. exceptions: a fried-bird sandwich slathered with kimchee mayo and an artful refresher of uncooked tuna with avocado, cucumber, onion, and a zingy vinegar-soy sauce. in preference to the conventional rice, Armstrong blitzes the association with crispy puffed grains.

another area that wishes paintings is the cocktails, that are overwhelmingly sugary. pay attention the rum-and-pineapple concoction until you’re into one-drink hangovers.

Armstrong says it wasn’t his purpose to Westernize Kaliwa’s cuisines in any manner. however that doesn’t imply he’s been able to step again from his classical ecu training. “We without a doubt reflect onconsideration on right braising strategies and proper stock production,” he says. “some people are like, ‘It doesn’t taste like my grandmother’s.’ Yeah, I recognise. I’m no longer your grandmother.”

get dressed: a mix of summery dress­es, denims, and some thing human beings are wearing to a concert at the nearby Anthem.

Noise stage: As loud as a frat birthday celebration.

fine dishes: Lechon kawali; Filipino street barbecue; lumpia; chicken adobo (adobong manok); pancit canton; grilled rib eye; clams in black-bean sauce; fried-hen sandwich; uncooked tuna and avocado (hoe-deop-bap); bibingka; halo-halo.

this text appeared inside the July 2018 trouble of Washingtonian.

extra: Asian cuisine bad Saint Cathal Armstrong Kaliwa Meshelle Armstrong Paolo Dungca eating place Eve The Wharf

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