Well, after some chat recently with some fellow Outer Boro-ers about new restaurants that disappoint, I'm pleased to report that this is one new restaurant that didn't -- at all.
We went on Friday night -- three of us, including one Filipino (not terribly relevant but it was interesting to hear a bit of his back and forth with Romy, one of the owners, about some of the dishes and their origins).
We started with the Korean meatballs, which are served on a tiny baguette made of purple yam flour, which were delicious, a bit reminiscent of the whole Asian sandwich craze that's swept the city -- but I'm a fan, so keep it coming. They were served with a small side of kimchi, which I liked so much, I inisisted we get a full side order of it. It was spicy without being overpoweringly so, and had a fresher cleaner taste than I have sometimes had.
Our other starter was the sisig, which is chopped meat from the various components of the pig's face, here flavored with lime and garlic. This was the one thing I didn't really like -- I found the texture (soft chunks -- no crispiness) and overwhelming pig flavor somewhat offputting. My companions scarfed it down though, although my Filipino friend commented that at home it is usually served sizzling -- which might have dealt with some of my complaints. Romy explained that he uses a piglet instead of a pig as I guess is usually used -- so it doesn't need to be as fried, but I might have liked it better if it was.
For mains we had the vegetarian bi bim bop (shitake mushrooms and squash), which is made with a very short grained "heirloom" filipino rice. It was very flavorful and surprisingly light. We also had the lechon, crispy piglet belly with a dipping sauce of soy and vinegar that was so good we contemplated having a 2nd order despite being stuffed, and pancit, a noodle dish that was also very tasty.
For dessert, a flan-type thing (fine, standard) and champarrado -- basically a soupy chocolate rice pudding with coffee ice cream that hit my chocolate button perfectly.
We tried a few of the flavored soju's -- ginger was more of a hit then the lime -- and had a very reasonably ($26) priced bottle of Aglianico that went fine with the food.
The total bill including drinks and tip was about $60/pp, though you could certainly eat and drink less than we did and be happy.
The room was bustling and I worried about service issues and long waits given how new it is, but every thing worked well, and Romy is working the room which adds a nice personal touch.
Clearly, this is Filipino accented Asian fusion type food -- not a direct equivalent with Filipino places in Woodside -- but it is exciting and tasty, and despite the long schlep to Ditmas Park from my house, I will be back. I only went to Cendrillon once many years ago, but it seems like the food here is bolder and more flavorful than what the same owners were doing there. There's a garden out back which should be nice come spring.
1314 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11226