Bad Saint
 Washington D.C.      Date of Visit  04/21/17

We bought into the hype. We showed up at Bad Saint two and a half hours before they opened, stood on the sidewalk watching the world go by, gave silent thanks for the umbrella in the trunk when the skies opened up (no one else left, even those without coverage) and learned how many people in D.C. you can pay to stand in line for you if you have money to burn. We also met a young lady who was on her third attempt to actually make it inside. Scarcity still creates desire.



When We Got There...

...A Short Time Later, Down The Block

Once the door opens they only allow groups of four or smaller who are ready to go right that second into the cramped and brightly colored dining area clustered around the open kitchen. Service is relaxed and friendly with the expectation you may not have much of an idea what you’re doing. Everything is served family style, there are nine options on the menu; three salads, three seafood dishes, and three meat dishes. We ordered three cocktails (the first one was interesting enough to encourage exploration) and four dishes.

The initial beverage was described as the unofficial official cocktail of the Philipines, the Willy Santos, built from lambanog, Cocchi Americano, Banae du Bresil, and lime juice. There’s just enough sweet to tamp down the nearly assaultive tang and other island flavors in this lightly frothy mixture. Fun, what else you got? Next was the Diki-Diki - calvados, Kronan Swedish Punsch, lime, grapefruit, angostura, and seasalt with similar tang but a duskier more complicated balance of bitterness than the first. The final was the most serious of all, the Balisong made with rye, Bittermans Tepache, coconut liqueur, Carpano Antica, Angostura, kinda like an islandy-old-fashioned. Then there was the food.

Kitchen Is On Display

Cocktails Are A Little Sweet And Seriously Sour

Or Tart And Bitter

Or With Sweet And Serious Bitter

New, stunning, fun, bright, enough twists and turns to be wonderfuly weird without being alien or frightening. The first was called Kilawin Na Tambakol and was much like ceviche, but with a different list of curing ingredients. Thick dice of sweet tuna protein are denatured by ginger, spicy habanero vinegar, and other more equatorial ingredients than traditional leaving a viscous and bright sheen on the exterior of the tender and meaty tuna. Great start.

Pancit Na Hipon arrived next, glass noodles soaked through darkly rich and spicy broth born of pork belly and laced with huge chunks of shrimp. Add loads of floral and acidic vegetation and you just start shoveling through the building heat, so good, thought it might be the best we would have until the Adobong Dilaw arrived. Thick ceramic bowl is radiating heat outward still drawing from the bubbling yellow curryish liquid weighed down with roasted cauliflower and kobocha squash. The veg was great…the sauce was divine. I think our server thought I was joking when I said if the bowl weren’t still screaming hot, I would have licked it clean. Now I think I should have proven it, the stuff was chameleonesqe, changing not with every bite but nearly every moment, like really good Thai food, it seemed to hit every taste bud differently and set off an alternate cascade of neurons in you brain screaming…eat more, were not done yet, lick the hot rock, it’s worth it. Regret.


Bright Tuna Nuggets

Screaming Hot Bowl Full Of...

...Chewy Noodles And Spicy Broth...

Flavored With Shrimp & Belly Chunks

Even Hotter Bowl...

...With Even More Glorious Cauliflower Awesome

The last dish we ordered was the Adobong Hipon huge prawns smeared with black garlic and topped with sprigs of cilantro. This was my least favorite. The black garlic was delicious with a strong sweet note against the spice of the clove. The prawns themselves were nearly dry. Tasty but for me, way overdone. When the check arrived they also delivered a final taste gratis. Dessert was a piece of plantain steamed in banana leaf, then roasted till hints of crisp developed and then doused with brown butter and a caramel sauce. Bananas Foster ala Filipino. Get the umbrella, I’m ready to check out the sidewalk for a couple more hours…there were five more things on the menu just for today.

Huge Prawns

Were Coated In Interesting Black Garlic But Way Overcooked

Free Starchy & Sweet Dessert
YAAAAAY Philippines!





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