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Maharlika, East Village, NYC

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Location: 111 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:00am – 3:30pm, 5:00pm – 11pm, Friday – Saturday 11:00am – 3:30pm, 5:00pm – 12mn
Telephone Number: (646) 392-7880
Official Website: maharlikanyc.com

They say Filipino food has made the map overseas. I’ve never had Filipino food outside of my home country, and it’s only fitting to test it in the heart of New York City. Just how good can Filipino cuisine be in one of the world’s most upbeat metropolis?

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Sad to say, I am going to cut my review short. There is no point in beating around the bush. Maharlika is not one of them. The dishes are a hit and miss, and I’m glad it “kind of” retained its traditional roots in several of their dishes including Adobo, Sisig and lumpiang shanghai (which by the way, is NOT Filipino in origin. This is fusion already!)

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One of the reasons why I stayed away from Pig and Khao as the Filipino restaurant I wanted to try in NYC is because it’s inherently fusion, and harder to compare vis-a-vis Filipino food in the Philippines. We all know the qualities of a beautiful Filipino dish. Some success stories such as Senor Sisig successfully created a fusion of Mexican and Filipino cuisine without losing the identity. And it’s only a food truck.

Please don’t tell me this is a Filipino dish. Chicken and Waffles (even though the waffles are cooked in ube) are southern dishes. That is not the identity of Filipino cuisine. Setting that aside, only the gigantic fried chicken pieces were passable. They were so large they felt dangerously bloated with chemicals. The waffles? Awful. The photos speak for themselves. It looks tough to chew.

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I feel so strongly here because the dishes are weakly cooked, with the exception of the garlic rice. Other than that, even the Tocino, so blatantly compared to bacon, falls flat in my expectations. And the prices? Outrageous by Manhattan standards. That is not the value of Filipino cuisine.

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That doesn’t look like Tocino. And it tasted different too, texture wise.

Not everything on Yelp rings true, folks.

Until then, I have yet to find the best Filipino cuisine here in NYC.

Maharlika Rating:

Taste and Originality: (2.5 / 5)
Customer Experience: (4.0 / 5)
Value for Money: (2.0 / 5)
Brick and Mortar: (3.5 / 5)
Average: (3.0 / 5)