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Monday, August 5, 2013

Pig and Khao

My brother set the bar extraordinarily high before his annual NYC visit.  He told me I needed to find us a restaurant 1) with food he can't get in Savannah (that's not Chinese or Korean), 2) is not in an outer borough, 3) is reasonably priced, 4) would knock his socks off.  They said it couldn't be done, but that's just the kind of challenge I live for so I made it happen.

I was able to satisfy every requirement on my brother's list with Pig and Khao.  Located in the Lower East Side, Pig and Khao serves Thai and Filipino influenced cuisine that is incredibly inventive for a price that is more than simple.  By simple, I mean low.  The dishes labeled as small plates may seem expensive at around $13-$15, but they are not typical tapas size as we expected.  We ordered four of them along with an order or two of coconut rice (a mere $3) for five people and it was plenty of food.  We also ordered two drinks a person and our total bill came to $150.  Food and alcohol for 5 people for that price is a pretty good deal, but not as ridiculous of a deal as the $15 bottomless PBR, done self-serve style in the back patio area.

So I made good on the price condition but the real concern was getting my brother and sister in law unique food.  I did even better in this category.  We ate pork head served with a slippery, saucy egg.  It was fatty, sweet, and salty.  Definitely can't get pork head in Savannah - it's not like it's on tons of menus in New York either.  It was gone moments after it was placed on the table.  We debated getting another order immediately but decided to wait until after we tried the other dishes that were on their way from the kitchen.  It's a good thing we did because the following dishes were also spectacular.  The pork jowl was served with cilantro, mint, watermelon, and chicharron.  When all elements were eaten together the sweet and cool watermelon did something with the spicy pork jowl that got me all sorts of confused and excited.  I know it sounds like a lot of pork, but you haven't even heard about the pork belly yet.  It was served with a poached egg in a salty broth that didn't mushify the crispy skin.  Finally, we ordered the curry fried chicken special that was served with a pickled watermelon rind salad.  The sauce was sweet and unlike the curry flavor I was expecting and the skin was crispy enough to satisfy our whole table of Southerners.

Don't go to Pig and Khao because you heard a former Top Chef contestant is running the kitchen.  Don't even go because you read the 2-star review in the New York Times.  Go because I'm telling you the food is exciting and non-traditional, the price is right, and though they have great $11 cocktails on the menu, they're not above kegs and beers in cans.

String lights, solo cups, and a keg on the patio...just like college...

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