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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jonathan Kauffman: Crossover Dreams at Patio Filipino

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 2:58 PM

click to enlarge Patio Filipino's ginataang. - EVADEDAVE/FLICKR
  • evadedave/Flickr
  • Patio Filipino's ginataang.
How can Filipino food in the Bay Area ― a metro track with one of the biggest Fil-Am populations in the U.S. ― still be so little known?

That's something we've pondered with friends for years, across tables cluttered with rice-cooker inserts and Coke cans, platters of pancit and dinuguan. Today in SF Weekly, food critic Jonathan Kauffman considers the offerings at San Bruno's Patio Filipino, a destination eatery with cooking that skews Pampangan. Over mouthfuls of crispy pata and ginataang, kare-kare and halo-halo, Kauffman ponders whether the Bay is poised on the verge of a Filipino food breakout, driven by younger diners hungry for crossover. Read our "Eat" excerpt here (after the jump), then check out Kauffman's full review at SFWeekly.com.

Get there early, because by 7:30 p.m., there's quite a scene: Ten-person family outings next to two-top romantic dates. Birthday parties that spill out of the side room. Conversations that flicker between Tagalog and English, the chopped-up understandable bits a surreal pleasure for the monolingual eavesdropper. Waiters weave through the restaurant wielding elaborately garnished platters of fried milkfish and cast-iron plates that sputter and smoke, filling the room with the smell of spiced pork.

The restaurant is packed for good reason. Patio Filipino takes the same approach as San Francisco restaurants like Pagolac, Lers Ros, and Burma Superstar: It's a comfortable, attractive, well-priced bistro that satisfies both first-generation palates and second-generation expectations of what a night out at a good restaurant entails -- touches like olive walls and dark-wood flourishes, starched cloth napkins, and white ceramic plates that waft away the moment the waiters spot them laying empty.

Follow us on Twitter: @SFoodie. Follow Jonathan Kauffman at @JonKauffman.

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