James and I set out last night to eat at Momofuku. But alas, the summer is over, the NYU students are back, and the wait at this loud and crowded shrine to pork was over 35 minutes long. We wandered back up First Avenue and ended up at Pistahan, a steam counter Filipino restaurant I'd read about in New York magazine's "Cheap Eats" issue.
$20 for two entrees, an app, and a drink certainly is cheap. Unfortunately, so are the ingredients. A sweet and savory crepe starter filled with "sauteed vegetables" was in fact filled with raw cabbage and bean sprouts so saturated in garlic we had to brush our teeth about eighteen times when we got home. My chicken marinated in coconut and vinegar had a nice spicy kick and tasted pretty good. But def the cheap parts of the chicken, and the sauce was gooey and cloying, kind of like sweet and sour in a Chinese restaurant. The rice was Uncle Ben's level. James's barbecue pork was fine. Since I'm not a fan of extreme garlic's masking not great ingredients, I won't be going back.
Luckily for us, City Bakery has opened an East Village outpost on the same block as Pistahan. So we washed down the extreme garlic with a cookie and what they call "Farmer's Lemonade," which is lemonade and a "touch of Ronnybrook cream." Sounds putrid but it is amazing; as the site I just linked to says, "it makes you kneel." It also clogs your sinuses like all get-out, but what a frosty, milky, tart kick.