Charleston Edition: Barkadas

By Candace Nelson - 3:00 PM

Barkadas

The long-awaited Filipino restaurant on Cantley Drive in Charleston has opened.

BarkadasBarkadas features Philippine island staples, as well as blends of Spanish, United States and Southeast Asian influences into meals.

Barkadas"Barkadas" is "Filipino street slang meaning a group of friends getting together, which in turn is how the restaurant was developed. It all started by four friends getting together and deciding to collaborate to build a new concept for Charleston, West Virginia. Our goal is to be the most customer centric restaurant in the area and reinventing the neighborhood pub & restaurant." One of my friends and local chef extraordinaire Paul Smith is at the helm of this new restaurant.

BarkadasLocated at the bottom of Cantley Drive near Dominoes, Barkadas is a medium-sized space that has been chocked full since the day it announced its grand opening. So full, in fact, that the parking lot was packed and customers were parking along the road.

BarkadasThe interior features beautiful dark-hued hardwoods, greenery, recessed lighting and metal fixtures and chairs that give off an industrial vibe. It's modern, but cozy, and has a very cool vibe. When I opened the doors, there was a hostess immediately there to greet me and seat me. I spent some time looking over the menu, which includes fried spam, nachos, bao buns, burritos, burgers, and more.

BarkadasFor starters, I ordered lumpia. What's that?  Lumpia - Six, crispy Filipino style pork egg rolls. Served with house pickled veggies and dipping sauces. My former coworker's mother used to make these for us, and I still crave them. So good. These lumpia were perfectly crisp and delicious. Plus that dipping sauce? Perfection.

BarkadasThen, I ordered a few bao buns. Bao Buns - Soft, pillowy, steamed buns with your choice of filling: Glazed Pork Belly and Chicken Karaage. I love bao buns and I don't know of any other place in town you can get them. The buns were perfectly steamed, the crisp meat and colorful veggies all blended beautifully. The Chicken Karaage was my favorite here.

Barkadas

Finally, I ordered an Adobo Bowl - Avocado, scallion, tomato, pickled onion. I got mine with pancit noodles - very thin rice noodles.


BarkadasFor dessert, I tried the tropical creme brulee. In lieu of a crunchy sugary topping, it had candied ginger and other fruit. A nice little end to a delicious dinner.

Grade: A

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