This is my birthday weekend, and in lieu of a more upscale place, I opted to finally pull the trigger and wait in line for Bad Saint on a Saturday, a place I’ve been dying to go to since it opened.
We arrived at about 3:15 and were not the first ones in line, but definitely close enough to the front (although the people in front of us would eventually all have their friends show up). Around 5:05, the doors opened, and the hostess began taking in groups one by one, asking each person if they had any allergies and then pointing out which things on the menu they wouldn’t be able to eat (each item included a description in English, so I’m not sure why this was necessary). It took another 15 minutes for us to be allowed in due to this rigmarole, but we were eventually seated on the stools against the wall, where we had a great view of the kitchen, which I was really excited about.
The menu looked fabulous. I wanted everything. I first ordered a cocktail and my husband got a beer and we also heard the daily specials. Because everyone enters at the exact same time, it took forever to get my cocktail, although it was very original and tasty so I’m not sure I can fault them. We eventually ordered four dishes: the banana hearts in coconut milk, the pork sausage, squash blossoms stuffed with squid, and the beef ribs.
First, the good: I have never had Filipino food before and it was different than anything I’d had before. In fact, “interesting” and “unique” were the words my husband and I most often used to describe our dishes. As one might expect, it’s generally got the Southeast Asian ingredients mixed with flavors from the Spanish colonial influence. The banana hearts, which I expected to be on the sweeter side, definitely were not, which I enjoyed. The squash blossoms were really balanced and had a great texture, which I don’t always feel like I get with squid. And the pork sausage had a great, semi-sweet flavor.
The bad: Everything was SO. SALTY. I have no frame of reference for Filipino cuisine, so I can’t speak to its authenticity in this regard. It was not salty in an inedible way, but it was a predominant flavor in everything we ordered (although they deliver a small semi-sweet dessert with the check, which was completely bland, probably because my taste buds had been destroyed by all the salt).
The bottom line: I don’t regret coming here, and I don’t regret waiting in line (OK, maybe a little…), but I will not do it again. Bad Saint is good, but not good enough to merit their first-come-first-serve-no-reservations policy. Not bad bad, just insanely overhyped. They should rename this restuarant “Mediocre Saint.”
Price: $75 per person