In the depths of New York City’s historical landscape, nestled beneath the bustling streets, resides a culinary gem waiting to be discovered. Choly Filipino Restaurant, tucked away at the cellar of 90 W. Houston St., unveils an extraordinary dining experience that transcends time, whisking patrons away to an era when this very space whispered secrets as a hidden speakeasy.
Venturing into Choly Filipino Restaurant is akin to embarking on a gastronomic odyssey, where the past seamlessly intertwines with the present. Embraced by the warm hospitality of the owner and manager, their infectious passion for history and Filipino cuisine becomes a guiding beacon.
As I settled into the ambiance, a world of flavors and traditions unfolded before me, beckoning me to embark on a culinary adventure like no other. The menu, meticulously crafted, reveals the rich tapestry of Filipino gastronomy, with several standout offerings that have become the stars of this epicurean symphony.
First and foremost, the House Sisig, the pièce de résistance that ignites the senses. Presented on a sizzling plate, a tantalizing aroma wafts through the air, drawing me closer to its alluring dance. Each succulent bite of perfectly grilled meat, infused with a harmonious blend of spices, orchestrates an explosion of flavors, leaving an indelible impression on the palate.
The Adobo and Sampaloc Margarita, a creative twist on a classic cocktail, stands as a testament to the ingenuity of Choly Filipino Restaurant. The tangy notes of sampaloc (tamarind) intertwine gracefully with the smoothness of a margarita, offering a refreshing libation that complements the robust flavors of Filipino cuisine. Sipping on this elixir, one is instantly transported to the era of speakeasies, a time of liberation and indulgence.
Lengua Estofado, an exquisite dish of tender ox tongue stewed with olives and mushrooms, showcases the culinary finesse and attention to detail that define Choly’s kitchen. Each sumptuous bite unravels a symphony of savory richness, harmonizing with a side of fragrant rice to create a truly gratifying experience.
The Kinilaw Tuna, a Filipino rendition of ceviche, serves as a testament to Choly Filipino Restaurant’s culinary prowess. Delicate cubes of fresh tuna, bathed in a tangy marinade of vinegar, calamansi, and aromatic herbs, deliver a refreshing burst of flavors that invigorate the senses. It pays homage to the bountiful seas surrounding the Philippines and the vibrant coastal culture ingrained in Filipino cuisine.
No culinary voyage at Choly Filipino Restaurant would be complete without indulging in the unforgettable Chicharon Bulaklak. This deep-fried delicacy, crafted from ruffled fat, boasts an irresistible crispness that harmonizes with a delectable vinegar dip. Each bite unravels layers of richness, a testament to the decadence and ingenuity of Filipino culinary heritage.
As the evening unfolds, the gracious owner and manager regale guests with captivating tales of the speakeasy’s clandestine past. Their commitment to preserving the historical significance of the space while infusing modern twists into traditional Filipino dishes is truly commendable, adding an extra layer of depth to the dining experience.
Choly Filipino Restaurant’s culinary offerings serve as a testament to the vibrant tapestry of flavors that define Filipino cuisine. It invites patrons to partake in the art of culinary storytelling, with each dish revealing a chapter of history, culture, and gastronomic heritage.
Nestled within the cellar of 90 W. Houston St., Choly Filipino Restaurant stands as a time capsule, transporting guests to an era of clandestine gatherings and culinary revelations. It serves as a testament to the enduring power of food, culture, and the indomitable human spirit.
As I bid adieu to this culinary haven, I carry with me the flavors, stories, and warm hospitality that permeate every corner of Choly Filipino Restaurant. It is a place where history is celebrated, palates are enchanted, and indelible memories are forged. A hidden gem in the heart of New York City, Choly Filipino Restaurant beckons all who yearn for a taste of the past and an exploration of flavors that transcend time.
Image credits: Troi Santos