It was pouring down rain on a Saturday, but that didn’t deter Andrew’s and my brunch plans. We had places to go, people to see, and some bottomless brunching to be had to get a little buzz on before solving a mystery on the streets of Greenwich Village as part of the Accomplice interactive theater experience.
As an Alphabet City resident, Pig & Khao in the Lower East Side has long been on my neighborhood brunch radar. Top Chef contestant Leah Cohen leads the operation and I had heard buzz about the hip, laidback vibe, moderately priced Filipino fare, and a killer bottomless special.
The torrential downpour seemed to discourage many potential patrons so we walked right in at noon and had our choice of tables at the narrow establishment. We got comfortable at a table near the menu and I took the opportunity to survey the ambiance. Exposed brick with the Pig & Khao logo spray painted across combined with bold oriental prints and Asian chotskies gave the restaurant the perfect amount of LES grit and Asian-fusion flair. The soundtrack of choice was 90s hip hop, which is a hole in one for brunch in my book, even before I try the food.
As I mentioned, we had an agenda so we made a beeline for the beverages. At Pig & Khao you can choose between a mango, lychee, or traditional orange mimosa for $8 or go bottomless for $15. It’s the economic choice to go bottomless if you’re going to indulge in more than one, right?!
I started with orange, but sampled the entire offering over the course of brunch, maybe even a few times over. All of the juices tasted fresh, although mango and lychee were a bit too sweet for my palate after one glass.
A unique, and totally awesome, offering at Pig & Khao is the $15 bottomless Yuengling keg available during brunch and dinner. Our friendly server gave Andrew a Solo cup and instructed him to pour it right from the keg on the back patio, college-style.
Since keg parties are a rarity in space prohibitive New York apartments, we had a kick manning the keg and Andrew appreciated that he could go back for refills at his leisure. I also mentally noted that the keg would also be really fun for a group birthday dinner, especially in warmer months in the outdoor space.
After we had sufficiently knocked a few back, it was time to place our brunch order. Neither of us admittedly knew anything about Filipino food so we leaned on the recommendations of our server and the good people of Foursquare and Yelp. The menu contains a few familiar items with an Asian twist such as steak and eggs with spicy issan sauce and brioche French toast with genesee cream syrup, but mainly foreign choices like bahn xeo (crepes) and champorado (rice pudding).
We eventually settled on the sizzling sisig, khao soi, and powdered sugar doughnuts. After all, Cori Sue taught me well—if doughnuts are on the menu, they must be ordered.
The sizzling sisig came out first with an impressive cloud of steam. Diced pork head bits were literally sizzling and covered with chili, cilantro, and a poached egg. The pork was extremely flavorful and given a great kick of flavor from the chili. We also enjoyed combining the runny egg yoke with a full fork of pork for the perfect breakfast bite.
Next came the khao soi, which contained red curry, coconut milk, chicken, egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, and shallots. This was an impressive list of ingredients and the flavor was similarly complex, in a good way. The rich, zesty sauce was the standout of the dish and we caught ourselves licking the spoon after we polished off the plate. The crispy noodles also added an interesting textural element to the entrée.
At this point, we were filling up, but saved a little room for dessert. When the powdered doughnuts arrived at our table, I had to stop and stare for a few moments at the fluorescent green pandan custard. It looked like something straight out of Nickelodeon’s Slime Time Live and was a bit off putting until I braved a bite.
The doughnuts were perfectly fluffy and melted in my mouth. The pandan custard complemented the pastry’s heat with a cool, silky flavor. Don’t let the color fool you, this dish is a must try.
We left Pig & Khao satisfied and slightly inebriated, so mission accomplished. We grabbed our umbrellas and set out on our second mission of the day on our Accomplice adventure.
The Bitches say: A-. Interesting, tasty cuisine, a relaxed bottomless deal, and a fun, hip vibe in the Lower East Side checked all of the boxes. Plus a little Missy Elliott and Wu Tang before 1 p.m. never hurts.
Pig & Khao
68 Clinton St.
New York, NY
(Lower East Side)
Pig & Khao serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.