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Restaurants & Bars 9

Crispy Pata and Max's of the Philippines in South San Francisco ---- REVIEW ---- :) :) :)

new and iso pata | Jan 28, 200502:00 PM

In reference to "Crispy Pata for dinner"

Max's was a great recommendation -- thank you! Happy Happy Crispy Pata afterglow the morning after too.

We had:
Sinigang na Tiyan ng Bangus (sour clear broth soup with milkfish belly), 9.95
Lumpiang Ubod (lumpia with hearts of palm) in the fresh wrapper style (not fried style), 5.95
Crispy Pata, 14.95
Pinakbet (vegetable stew with shrimp paste), 9.40
Sinangag (fried garlic rice), 6.35
Calamansi Juice, didn't get the price

All were good. Everything was very very fresh.

We liked the most the Crispy Pata and Calamansi Juice.
I would order together the crispy pata, the garlic rice, and calamansi juice and call it a happy snack day.

I would order all again.

Milkfish belly was a great choice, the other choices were beef, pork, milkfish (not the belly), salmon, and shrimp. The milkfish was sliced lengthwise so that you could see both the belly and the skin. Very tender and recommended if you really like the fish skin, because you get all the skin with the belly. The broth very sour and soothing, with nice spinach greens also in the soup. You get a big bowl that serves at least four.

Lumpiang Ubod:
Sauteed vegetables predominately with hearts palm, and including chickpeas which I love in this dish. The wrapper was crepe-like and tasted just made. The single lumpia was open at one end to show the fresh long lettuce leaf sticking out that end. The lumpia was nicely plump, not unlike a regular sized burrito. The garlicky lightly sweet smooth brown sauce glistens and covered 2/3 of the wet crepe burrito, :) I mean the lumpia, and the plate. Includes a hefty hefty tablespoonful of just-minced garlic atop where the sauce ends toward the open end of the wrapper. The next time I order this I'll remember to eat this quickly while the filling is warm, otherwise I'll ask them for most of the sauce on the side just because when this gets cold the sauce approaches a cloying dipping sauce while when warm the sauce is a nice gravy.
This lumpia also can be ordered in the fried style but I liked this filling in the fresh style.

Crispy Pata:
Very Fresh and not oily and not dry. This pata is big and probably serves four. Beautiful. Tasty. Crispy Crispy Crispy not a single spot of soft pig skin on the pata. Dark Golden Skin and not burnt at all like you might see in other restaurants sometimes. Not hard either, just pleasantly chewy soft in some pieces and sexy almost gelatinous pieces and heavier pleasantly crunchy chewy meat and crispy crispy crispy skin like chicharron. And not just all texture but I was so happy to get non-soggy skin everywhere that I forgot but this is also tasty with clean flavors. Most of the time, except a few times, I forgot to dip into the accompanying garlic vinegar (garnished with a couple of slices of serrano chiles) but that's just because the pata didn't need anything. This pata was a real winner. A friend said that a long time ago there was a Barrio Fiesta in South San Francisco that did the best version, but I'll be happy to have this version every time until somebody says there's a better one. I'll recommend this one. I forgot to say it was crispy. :)

This version of the vegetable with shrimp paste stew is beautiful and this version includes garlic, onion, tomato flavors with nice pieces of eggplant, bitter melon slices, okra, green beans. Their version is on the saltier side but very within bounds. The shrimp paste was assertive and the flavors are not dumbed down. I liked their version and I would order it again for me, and I know it might take a few tries if at all for non-fishy non-salty peoples to get into the aura of taste of the fermented shrimp yummy-ness. I would eat this with lots and lots of plain white rice.

The garlicky fried rice was tasty. I loved the toasted brown garlic bits liberally tossed on top. This version was nicely garlicky but not as much as I've had which was a good thing and also nicely not salty unlike other restaurants I've had this at sometimes. The rice went very nicely with all the dishes, except if I'd pair pinakbet with plain white rice if we had not already been eating the sinangag with everything already.

Calamansi Juice:
I googled this to find out that Calamansi/Kalamansi is also called musk lime. This drink was indeed awesome, thank you Joanna. Tasted like a combination of the flavors of lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, mandarins, kumquats. Happy Happy Happy. If we ever find out their recipe I would like to sit down by a beautiful lake with gallons of calamansi juice and platters and platters of Crispy Pata for days and days on end, 3 seasons from spring and summer until fall. And maybe the winter too except it gets too cold outside so we'd have to bring the calamansi juice and crispy pata indoors and gorge until it gets warmer outside so we could go back outside and continue gorging on crispy pata and drinking calamansi juice. Hope you get the picture. :)

The restaurant is small but I think I heard maybe the restaurant had been remodeled recently but I don't know what it looked like before. The black mahogony like dark wood in the chairs and tables is beautiful. The space is very clean, comfortable and warm but light and open rather than dark, very attractive, very welcoming. The space feels casual but does not feel barebones like Ongpin. One wall has a blowup of an original menu from the 50s of the restaurant from the location on Dewey Blvd (now Roxas Blvd) near the Baclaran Church in Manila, with 50s type and photo and illustrations with prices in Pisos. I thought the menu was appealing and nostalgic and I enjoyed looking at it and being entertained by it.

The 3 servers were friendly but at 7pm and later the restaurant was packed with maybe 20 people waiting and the waiters had to hop around alot so you might not get the best sharp attentive service during prime time just because they were so busy. We asked for the sinigang and the lumpia before the rest of the dishes. We got them before everything else, but we got everything else 3 minutes later so next time we'll be more specific :) or we might order the soup and apps first and hold on to the menu and order the rest a little later. I'm sure it would be easier on the timing if we went earlier or when it wasn't crowded. If you want to get explanations of the food you probably should go early before 6, maybe at the very beginning of dinner time but I don't know when they open for dinner.

Most people were eating family style, and prime time there became a cacophony because the place was crowded. There were lots of kids last night but that goes with prime time in the happy setting. The kids were not boisterous or out of hand but some were definitely not quiet. I enjoyed watching a real darlingest little boy tackle a huge scoop of Ube ice cream, he was in heaven and I knew I could come here again and be happy even if I didn't know about the pata. The crowd last night when we were there maybe could have been 95% Filipino. We didn't dally because we knew there were so many people waiting but next time we're getting there earlier and I'm ordering dessert. We didn't pay attention to the dessert options but there was halo halo and other things.

We didn't also see if there was a menu to take with us because the servers were so busy but next time we'll get a copy of the menu if they have one. (The current one not the 50s one but I think I'd love to have a copy of that one too.)

Thanks again for the tips, hounds!

I found an article by Patricia Unterman from the Examiner that mentions Max's and she liked the crispy pata also:

Max's of the Philippines
1155 El Camino Real, South San Francisco, (650) 872-6748


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