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Zagat: NYC's Only Filipino Gastropub Keeps Things Casual And Fun

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Diners will find an array of flavors and influences that are different from other Asian fare at Jeepney, NYC's only Filipino Gastropub. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report for NY1.

Recently opened Jeepney is one of only a few Filipino restaurants in New York City, and it showcases an array of flavors and influences that are different from other Asian fare.

"If you love Spanish food, if you love Chinese food, and Malaysian, and then you swirl in a little bit of indigenous flavors, that, in essence, is Filipino," says co-owner Nicole Ponseca. "Ultimately, we're the original fusion cuisine."

The Gastropub element means things are kept casual and fun. Dishes are served family style, and the offerings on the menu range from traditional stews to a Filipino-inspired burger.

"The inspiration for the food here at Jeepney was pub food," says chef Miguel Trinidad. "What we wanted to create Asian soul food. Things you can expect here is really slow cooking. We braise at a very low temperature for long hours, so the meat is nice and tender and all the flavors blend into the dishes. You'll find burgers here, you'll find slow-braised pork shoulder. And we have our bola lo, which is like a big warm blanket in a bowl."

The restaurant takes its name from the metal taxis that are common on the streets of Manila. The decor incorporates steel walls and other playful elements that the owners hope will showcase what they feel is an interesting dichotomy in the country's culture.

"I'm often surprised by the polarizing values in the Philippines," Ponseca says. "Our religious, deep-rooted Catholicism, and then, what we call Bonga girls, totally sexy, undeniably beautiful women. I pay homage to both in the space."

With its accessible and energetic approach, Jeepney hopes to bring Filipino cuisine to a new breed of city diner.

"I don't think that there's a lot of Filipino restaurants in New York, let alone the United States, and that's my goal, is to help change the face of Filipino food," Ponseca says.

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