‘Soulful heritage Filipino restaurant’ Naks to open in East Village, NYC
 
 
 
 
 
 

‘Soulful heritage Filipino restaurant’ to open in East Village, NYC

Helmed by Dhamaka’s chef de cuisine Eric Valdez, Naks offers 14 à la carte dishes and a kamayan menu
/ 07:23 AM September 01, 2023

‘Soulful heritage Filipino restaurant’ Naks to open in East Village, NYC

Photo screen grabbed from Star Chef’s YouTube channel

If you’re one of those who mourned the closing of Filipino restaurant Jeepney’s East Village location back in September 2021, we’ve got good news. Kamayan is back on the menu with the opening of chef Chintan Pandya and restaurateur Roni Mazumdar’s new project Naks.

Early this year, The New York Times hailed three of the duo’s restaurants among the Top 100 Best Restaurants in New York. Dhamaka, Semma, and Adda have been helping shape the culinary landscape of the city by providing unapologetic Indian cuisine that doesn’t make compromises to appease an American palate. Now, they’re helping bring focus to Filipino food with Dhamaka’s chef de cuisine Eric Valdez.

Naks is described as a soulful heritage Filipino restaurant that hopes to conjure feelings of surprise and admiration with its meals, thus the name. The menu and dining room are divided into two sections. One serves various regional dishes, and the other offers a kamayan or boodle fight tasting menu served family style on a banana leaf where eating with your bare hands is encouraged.

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Valdez was raised in the Philippines before coming to the Unites States at 21. He first started working with Pandya in 2016 at Junoon where he learned the similarities between Indian and Filipino cooking. Fast forward to today, Valdez now also shares in the uncompromising philosophy of Pandya.

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A sneak peek of the Naks menu

In a recent tasting attended by Grub Street’s Chris Crowley, Valdez gave a preview of the kamayan menu, which begins with a welcome drink served in an eggshell inspired by balut.

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“Instead of a duck embryo, however, this will be a mix of the tropical fruit called bilimbi, spiced coconut vinegar, and duck stock,” describes Crowley. “The meal will build with a mix of soups, salads, and appetizers (including a scallop that’s grilled tableside in a sauce of margarine and Eden cheese, which is like the Philippines’s answer to Velveeta) before it culminates with lechon.”

The final menu reportedly includes 14 à la carte dishes, which include bagnet, bas-oy, butter chicken, dinakdakan, dinamita, dinuguang kambing, ginataang kohol, halamang dagat, igado, igat, imbaliktad, inihaw na balat, kapis, kinilaw na bat, lapu-lapu, lechon liempo, lumpiang toge, morcon, pancit batil patong, pasulbot, pritong itik, singkamas at mangga, soup no. 5, and swaki.

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If some of the lesser known dishes on the menu are any indication, it seems the eight-day food tour the trio took around the Philippines to prepare paid off.

Mazumdar reveals that the space was first intended to be an Adda outpost and they only switched gears four days before construction. Make the trip to East Village when Naks opens around the third week of September to help prove that Filipino cuisine is exactly what the neighborhood is looking for.

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TAGS: Filipino food, Filipino restaurants, New York, Trending
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