Like most people, I hate standing in line. And there has to be a really darn good reason to do so. If there is a wait at a restaurant, and I don’t have a reservation, 9/10 I will just pass. In fact, I’d rather not eat at all then eat after I’ve spent 4 hours being hangry.
So, while Bad Saint was always on our radar (after it won Bon Appetit’s #2 best new restaurant last year; it was also on Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list), we missed the opportunity to go when there wasn’t a line. Next time when everyone says to go eat somewhere, and it is a mere 15 minute walk from our house, and they aren’t yet famous, we will GO. After their critical acclaim, the lines were out of control. They open their doors at 5:30pm, there are only 2 tables + probably 10 (estimated) additional bar seats, and the line was starting at 3pm and snaking around the block. No. Thanks.
But we still wanted to go eat there–one of the few Filipino restaurants in the city (and supposedly the best Filipino food in the country)! So we figured that we would give it a try, over a year later. We headed up to the restaurant around 4:30, and were about 18th in line. Ugh. Fortunately, which we didn’t know at the time, they won’t seat partial parties and many of those people were waiting for other people who didn’t show up by 5:30. My mom and I waited in line, and DH showed up 10 minutes early. So we were ready to eat.
Tip: Have your entire party ready at 5:30, and there is a good chance you’ll be seated if you are in the first 20 or so people.
Side note, but why in the world would you wait in line for 2 hours for the rest of your party who couldn’t show up in time? I’d honey badger them as soon as they arrived. It wouldn’t be pretty.
Tip: Also, if you want to show up later to the line (like 5:00 or 5:10), you can put your name on the list for the second seating, which is a good option if you just want to eat later. Also a good option if you have friends who you can’t get to show up on time. On a random weeknight, there is a decently good shot of getting a table. And, well, if you don’t, you only wasted 20 minutes of your time and El Chucho – a great taco place – is waiting for you right down the street.
OK. So off the logistics and on to the meal. The dishes are all to share for the table, so made to fit the number of people in your party.
Tip: At first you think there isn’t going to be enough food, but their portions are perfect–listen to the server and order the number of dishes they recommend.
Out first came some fascinating skewers, with crab sauce and hot peppers. It is called Inihaw Na Sugpo. Don’t ask me how to say that. It’s ingredients included prawns, crab fat, and habanero. They were on the spicy side, but only in the best of ways–the spice certainly did not overpower the dish. It was also one of the prettiest dishes of the night.
Some chicken and pork belly was the next dish to arrive at the table, the Adobong Puti. It was cooked with cane vinegar, and was just delectable. The chicken fell of the bone and melted in your mouth, and all the flavors blended so well. Now, it kind of looked boring–but let me tell you, don’t judge the food by its appearance. I mean, chicken and pork belly aren’t the nicest things to look at.
Next up was a lovely stew, the Pinakbet. We initially waffled about ordering this dish, but it was one of our favorites. It included eggplant, sitaw, and baby corn, and was so filling, hearty, and just absolutely delicious. If I could make this at home, I would. Ignore the fact it was 90 degrees outside–this stew-type item hit the spot.
A curry was out next. I don’t like curry particularly, and you will never see me order a curry except in a restaurant as excellent as Bad Saint. The curry was delectable! Isdang Maranao it was called, and included the most excellently cooked swordfish, as well as lemongrass and coriander. We asked for more rice just to finish off all of the sauce. It came with a side of pickled vegetables, and, well, I’m obsessed with pickled vegetables so these just topped off the dish.
Lastly were beef ribs. DH liked those the best, but they were a touch fatty for me–I know fat adds to the taste, but I also hate the texture so I had to do some picking of the meat from the fat. Not my favorite thing to do. Taste wise, with some scallions and soy, these were on point (the Adobong Tadyang Na Baka).