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Murray Hill / Gramercy >
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Posted by Maria A on 01/12/2009
Forget Restaurant Week! Grill 21 offers to-die-for Filipino food at reasonable prices every day of the week. This is our favorite hangout whenever we feel like having a food fest. Imagine having sisig, crispy pata, lechon kawali, sinigang na baboy, daing na bangus, laing and lumpiang sariwa all in one meal. My friends and I frequent Grill 21 all the time. Downed with San Miguel, this place really brings you back to the good old days back in Manila. A must try for New Yorkers who are craving for some authentic Filipino food in the city. Although the place is small (it can only accommodate around 25 people inside), they serve efficiently. During warmer days, they set up tables outside too. Total cost for this meal was only around $100. Not bad for a restaurant in the East Village!
Posted by NYUfoodie on 01/08/2009
I think this place is a great find for those who want to be introduced to Filipino cuisine. The charming atmosphere of the restaurant and the beautiful presentation of the food really elevates the dining experience from the typical Mom & Pop greasy spoon establishments that Filipino food is usually served at. If I didn't know better, I would think that I was at a French bistro that just happens to serve Filipino food. And naturally this being Manhattan, the prices are going to be a little bit more than what you can get cafeteria-style over in Woodside. That being said, the prices were pretty reasonable and the food was quite tasty. I went with a large group, and we all had a great time, plus everything was really delicious. The owner was nothing but extremely friendly to us and accommodating. It really made everything that much better because we didn't have to deal with any snooty waiters with an attitude that I find you encounter pretty often being in Manhattan. We all were really suprised at how much Tagalog the owner knew and we all found this quite amusing. I've gone back since for lunch and consider the place a really great find if you want really good Filpino food in the city.
Posted by sa on 01/02/2009
i guess you cant expect anything cheaper in manhattan. the place in brooklyn called sariwa is cheaper but less portions as well. sariwa is also tastier than grill21 but nonetheless this place had great food. i am not philipino so i don't know what to compare the food to except my experience at sariwa, the only other philipino restaurant the ive been to. i came here with a reservation and we made it just on time. they had our table reserved but the seats were not set up yet and i imagined this place to be extremely small and it was. there is no actual waiter service there..its just the woman (i believe the boss) who gets your orders, brings them out, occassionally with a man in his 20s or 30s helping out. then there is no ice water service, which is definitely needed since i am not used to eating food so salty. we tried the desserts there and halo halo is like some chinese/viet concoction. there was nothing really special about it. just a plump of ice cream with slushed ice. some weird jellies down at the bottom that we didnt finish. the prices were about right, for a place this small. its a home-cooked sort of feel so dont go expecting 5star service. great place to just hang out and have dinner though. highly recommended to try out if this is one of the first times you want to try philipino food. it wont break your piggy bank =)
Posted by Anonymous on 12/24/2008
I agree with the previous post about the annoying owner. He's done it to us twice! He thinks he knows so much about being Filipino when all he's doing is insulting us. If you know so much, you should know off the bat that Filipinos want to be left alone when eating.
Posted by CeciliaNY on 12/24/2008
I first went after reading a great review of Grill 21 in New York magazine's Cheap Eats section. My visit did not disappoint. I love pinakbet and the vegetables were fresh and so was the shrimp. You could tell it was made to order and not sitting around for a while like in other places. Another favorite is tinapa so their brunch with eggs (other options tocino and longanisa) is to die for. The tinapa is gourmet. Deboned whitefish I think so easy to eat, crispy on outside and soft on the inside. I come here by myself or with friends. At times I call from home in the Upper East Side for a take out and drive down myself to pick it up. Only downside is often there is a wait for a table. If the place is too busy service can suffer. But the food is totally worth it!
Posted by Pinoy Fireman on 11/30/2008
In the last several months I've been visiting several filipino eateries around the city. Starting from restaurants on Roosevelt Ave. in Queens, Jersey city and New York. This restaurant is by far the best of the best. I really like this restaurant in many ways.. First of all, immediately as you walk in, there is a particular warm and cozy, yet sophisticated ambiance. None of the other restaurants I visited gave me this feeling. The warm, subtle colors, lighting and tones of the restaurant immediately made me realize that this was going to be an exciting culinary experience. The wait staff was not only professional but also very knowledgeable, informative and helpful when selecting an entree. Once I received my entree, I surely was not disappointed. The food is incredibly tasty and delicious just like my Lola's home cooking. My favorite is the Sinigang and the crispy lumpia. I will truly be a regular at Grill 21 for years to come. Another thing that I liked about Grill 21 is that the owner was very friendly, warm and pleasant to talk to. I had no idea he was the owner until I inquired about the owner's up bringing. Overall, the food, people and atmosphere is excellent choice to a wonderful evening.
Posted by Minan on 11/26/2008
I don't get the one bad review below... The food here is so good. I love the desserts too. The bistec and the halo-halo are my faves!!! And sorry if this sounds snobby, but it's a relief to go to a filipino restaurant in Manhattan that is authentic and doesn't feel like a ghetto diner, and is not in Queens. I bring people here all the time and it's always a hit.