Maharlika name means “royalty” in tagalog and it has been on my radar ever since i first got a taste of filipino food at Grill 21. on a rare off-day, i was joined by a sorority sister for a delightful president’s day brunch. my sorority sister Kim is of filipino descent and she has recently moved to NYC for work. it was great to see her and i couldn’t feel happier for her, as she was able to pursue her dreams and made them come true.
the restaurant is quite low-key and i was immediately greeted by a super friendly guy when i entered. i sat at the table by the window (loved it!) and browsed the menu while Kim makes her way to EV. the menu was quite witty and i chuckled when it offered NY water for the low, low price of free. haha. i opted for the sizzling sisig and Kim went for Maharlika’s signature dish, chicken and ube waffle.
the fried chicken was juicy and the waffles were simply out of this world. it was slightly sweet, soft, and served as the perfect counterpoint to the savory fried chicken. hmmm, i’m still thinking about it as i write this. yummy!
the sizzling sisig is served with a raw egg and mixed-up in the sizzling hot plate tableside. the sisig, though nicely seasoned, was a bit tough to chew. the chunks of meat was quite dry and making it less-than-desirable. some of my favorite components of sisig were the crispy pig’s ear, belly, and pork skin, all of which were hard to find in the dish. compared to Grill 21′s sisig, Maharlika’s version dulled in comparison. however, the garlic rice saved the day. it had crispy garlic bits, savory, fragrant, and i just couldn’t stop eating it.
overall, great service, decent food, charming spot, i had a great time catching up with Kim here. if you go to Maharlika, remember that they’re cash-only.
Maharlika111 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhood: East Village