CARROLL GARDENS, Brooklyn - Brooklyn is a long way from the Philippines, about 9,000 miles to be exact.
But you don't have to go that far to get some fresh and delicious Southeast Asian cuisine.
Armando Litiatco and his partner Ahmet Kiranbay opened a Filipino BBQ restaurant in Carroll Gardens.
They call it FOB, as in fresh off the boat, with the idea being that the food is authentic Filipino.
"When we came over here to New York we said Brooklyn doesn't have a lot of Filipino restaurants, but it has a lot of foodies, different cuisines so we said Brooklyn is the place to do Filipino BBQ," said Chef Litiatco, F.O.B.
This BBQ isn't like American BBQ.
"It's not a smoky flavor, a little more garlicy sweet and you can taste a little spiciness inside too," Kiranbay said.
The ribs are braised in beer and homemade banana BBQ sauce.
The pork skewers are sweet and spicy.
Chicken Inasal is marinated in lemongrass and ginger.
The flounder is grilled in a banana leaf.
For lighter fare, there's an octopus salad with tamarind dressing.
Sides include kale with shrimp paste and coconut, garlic rice and pancit bihon.
The idea is to share.
Many of the customers hadn't had Filipino food before.
A customer favorite is the 7 Up shrimp, a beachside standard. Large shrimp are sauteed with garlic, a bit of 7 Up adds the sweetness, soy sauce provides the salt and a touch a butter rounds out the dish.
"The trick is you have to use it with the head on because the head gives it all the flavor to it," Litiatco said.
He's right, but save room for the sisig, in essence fried pieces of a pig's head, and corn bibinka.
"Not only is the food delicious, they're wonderful and they're wonderful," a customer said.
"We've had great support from the neighborhood, we really have," Litiatco said. "It's really flattering, this is what we set out to do."
Peel & Eat 7 Up Shrimp Recipe
Serves 3 appetizer portion
12 jumbo shrimp 16/20 head on (white or black tiger)
3/4c of 7 Up Soda
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
3tsp vegetable oil
On medium high, heat oil in saute pan.
Add garlic and cook until light brown.
Add all the shrimp at once, let sear in pan for 1 minute.
Add soda and soy sauce.
Let simmer for 3-5 minutes or until cooked.
Turn off heat.
Add butter and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated into sauce.
Season very lightly with salt.