Supper Club Saturday: Bad Saint

Bad Saint

3226 11th St NW,
Washington, DC 20010

Even though our visit to Washington D.C. was going to be short, I did not want to pass up the opportunity to enjoy one of the top restaurants in the area (the question was which one?)  Well, Bad Saint was literally steps from where we were staying, so it would be foolhardy to pass up this opportunity.

Bad Saint is a Filipino Restaurant with limited seating and they take no reservations.  It is usually advised to come an hour or more before opening.

The Line for Bad Saint Before Opening

Having been raised by my Filipino Mom and having grown up on Filipino cuisine, why would I wait in line for something so familiar?  Even though it may be the same recipe, the dish will vary in flavor/style from island to island, and even from family to family.

I just wanted to see how their “house” recipes compare and contrast to ours.

What is Filipino food exactly?  There isn’t a concrete answer to that, and opinions differ from person to person, depending on who you ask.  The best answer I have from what I know of Filipino food is that it is a mix of a lot of things: Spanish, a variety of Asian influences (Chinese, Japanese and Korean, for example) and Indonesian, to name a few.  There is not a lot of sweet, but sour and salty.  There are dishes that are light and others that are heavy and comforting.

Yeah, the food is pretty diverse.

When they had opened, there was already a big party at the head of the line.  I believe the largest table they had sits 4 or 6 people. The line moved quickly and we advanced a few feet.  Already they were at capacity.  They were taking names and phone numbers so they could text you when a table is ready.

I came prepared for this already. I wasn’t too hungry yet and already planned to head back to our place to wait my turn.  I expected at least an hour and a half wait.

Then the Hostess announced that they had one seat available and asked if anyone was dining solo.  Hey, that would be me!

I raised my hand so high and fast, that I was literally standing on my toes.  The Hostess gestured to me and I followed her in.
Yeah, maybe it looked sad that I was eating alone, but I was far from being sad – I was happy that I did not have to wait over an hour to eat here after all!

I was seated along the windows on a high seat.  The bar ledge was edged with Mahjong tiles, and I was immediately reminded of the late nights with my Uncles and Cousins with the sounds of tiles getting “shuffled” on the card table.

Proof of Life (I Loved the Bar Behind Me)

When I was handed the menu, I was advised that the chef changes the selections often.

I may not have been hungry outside, but I was now.  The kitchen was literally behind me and, whatever they were cooking was making my mouth water.

I also accepted the fact that I was going to smell like food after this.

I decided to go with 3 dishes (mostly because I couldn’t make up my mind!)

I started with Kinilaw Na Pugita, which was octopus with fingerling potatoes and sliced Queen Olives in a vinagrette.

The octopus was light and fresh with a citrusy finish

I want to say we had something similar to this but with squid once.  I did like the olives in this version.

Next was Bulalo, a bone marrow stew with corn, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, green chili and a side of a vinegary fish sauce for more seasoning.  I couldn’t resist getting this as I am a fan of this stew!

Even With The Stew, I Couldn’t Forget the Rice!

The stew was delicious and reminded me of how my Mom makes it. In fact, its hard to say, whose is better.

The last dish I tried was Pancit Na Hipon, made with glass noodles, pork belly (mmm pork belly 😍), shrimp and chili.

This Had Some Kick!

Pancit is one of those dishes that takes many forms, usually dependent on the type of noodle.  When my Mom makes pancit, its with a rice noodle.  My aunt makes her with a thicker, almost lo mein style type noodle. With the noodles, you can add any type of protein (ie chicken, pork or shellfish) and sliced vegetables (ie celery, carrots, green onions) and don’t forget the fish sauce!  Having the pancit with the glass noodle was an interesting take. It almost slid in my mouth from the sauce and the pork belly.  The peanuts added crunch and the chilis some heat (even though I asked for it to be mild).   I really did like it.

At the end I was given, what reminded me of Turon, Banana Lumpia with Caramel Sauce.  However, the Hostess called it something else (I think, because it didnt sound like Turon).  The outside was a crispy and flaky egg roll wrapper, coated in a sticky caramel with a ripe and sweet banana inside.  Anyway, it was still good, no matter what it was.

Overall it was a great meal.  I wished I had more room to try the rest.  I definitely would go back if I had another opportunity.

Have you also been to Bad Saint?  How did it go?  Leave your comments below!

–Maeven

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