Ever since opening her first pop-up last spring, Philippines native Cristina Quackenbush has been attracting interest from almost every corner of the city. She expanded her operation last summer, branching out from a Sundays-only gig at Marie's Bar to regular dinner service at Who Dat Café. Now, however, with a freshly-minted review from Ian McNulty, Quackenbush, a fine-dining vet, has earned a delicious stamp of approval for her Filipino cuisine.
McNulty discusses the habit-forming Filipino food that Quackenbush has been serving up from behind the barista counter at Who Dat, paying particular attention to the pop-up's namesake, milkfish, a great example of the restaurant's "striking contemporary renditions" on traditional Filipino dishes:
Its other name is bangus, and I'm not sure which of these terms is least appetizing. But in Quackenbush's kitchen, milkfish is grilled, doused with creamy, shrimp-studded coconut milk curry and topped with an intensely spicy red cabbage slaw that rivals kimchee. The result is a unique showstopper.
With the exception of some disappointing "mock meat" vegetarian alternatives, McNulty's praise of Milkfish is nearly unstinting. Nearly?the name still sounds sort of icky.
Inside Who Dat Café [Photo: yelp]