it’s not often i’m surprised by filipino restaurants, even those that claim to offer a twist on the familiar. but brunch at the much heralded jeepney NYC in the east village truly was a delight. we arrived around noon, famished and excited. it didn’t take long to pick what we wanted to try: my cousin went with bicol benedict and i went with the chori burger. both are filipino takes on american favorites: eggs benedict and the hamburger.
bicol benedict is basically bicol express (pork cooked in coconut milk, chilies and shrimp paste) on pan de sal topped with vigan longganisa and poached eggs. at first glance, there seems to be too many flavors competing for attention — the salty-sweet creaminess of the coconut sauce, the richness of the egg and the savoury hint from the longganisa bits. but it all came together perfectly.
the chori burger is out of this world. i posted a photo on FB along with a comment about it being mind-blowing. i can’t believe i haven’t had this before, but adding longganisa to hamburger? genius! it’s actually an 8 ounce patty with 6 ounces of beef (it’s a 70/30 mix, according to our server, which explains why it tasted good — it had 30 percent fat!) and a 2 ounce layer of longganisa. it was served on challah (jewish egg bread) with a spicy aioli that includes jufran ketchup in the mix (yes, i noticed the “wrongness” of serving challah with pork, HA HA HA!). and did you notice the egg in the photo? i thought it was going to be much after i ordered it, but it’s not. i was too full, though, i didn’t even get to touch my kamote fries.
we were in a bit of a rush when we ordered our drinks, so we totally missed the part that said “sparkling drinks.” not that we minded. not a bit. what we did notice was how the drinks were named: after filipina celebrities. so my cousin ordered hilda koronel (kalamansi) and i ordered mango (i refused to call it pops fernandez).
|my lips were definitely pointing here|
we had originally planned to go to hanjan, a korean restaurant in the flatiron district, but they weren’t open early enough. that’s when ateng E suggested jeepney, a place she’d heard much about. it’s very easy to get to from the subway. take the yellow line to union square (14th street) and walk a few blocks to first avenue and 12th street. people won’t miss it; there’s a huge yellow sign outside with the word “jeepney.” and if you still find yourself lost, ask around, i’m sure someone can point you in the right direction. you’ll know it’s a kababayan if they use their lips 😉