Wow, t-bone, thank you for your post. (see link below for post I am referring to)
Coincidentally today I lunched at Ihawan, finally realizing that their closing at 8:30pm was why I had not made it there for dinner before.
While I have have learned a little about Filipino food from trying restaurants and comments from friends. Your personal essay is adds a lot to my understanding.
You may find that between the main contenders for Filipino food around Roosevelt and 69th St that there are pluses and minuses at each one.
At Ihawan I got the inihaw na langonisa, the grilled pork sausage that Jim Leff often recommends and it was very very good. And the grilled pork I saw at the table next to me looked good too. And based on smell floating in the neighborhood, Ihawan does excell on grill meats. The pinakbet I had was passable but the least memorable of any I have ever had. But the sausage was so good that I bought a pound at the Phil-Am grocery across the street to see if the secret is in the sausage and not necessarily in the expertise of the grill.
I have had the adobo at Krystal's Cafe and it was nothing special, in fact I didn't really like it. I had better at a place a long time ago in Washington DC. And it tasted nothing like the great description you give of what adobo can be. On the other hand the sinigang baboy, pork with vegetables in tamarind broth, at Krystal's I enjoyed. Also I have enjoyed their lumpiang sariwa, mixed vegetables wrapped in egg crepe with peanut sauce.
At Renee's Kitchenette is where I developed my taste for pinakbet. They have adobo too, which I had a small taste of once when dining with a large group and don't remember it being particularly good or bad.
I look forward to your report on these places. regards.
ps - for those who just tuned in:
Krystal: 69-02 Roosevelt corner 69th St 718.898.1900
Renee's Kitchenette & Grill: 69-14 Rooselvelt Ave 718.476.9002
Ihawan: 40-60 70th St: 718.205.1480
All three are relaxed informal dining places.