My wife and I were going to Manhattan for an appointment and parked in Queens to take
the subway. We passed Payag on the way to the station and it was new to us, because I believe a South American restaurant had been there before. We made a note to stop for lunch on the way back. On entering, we were pleasantly surprised to find it was so beautifully designed, with traditional Filipino "nipa" touches, and even a "banca" (outrigger canoe) suspended from the ceiling over the bar. It was obvious that great care went into the design. There was an area that was set up for a small band or keyboard and I was told there's karaoke on weekend nights.
We found the menu to be typical of most Filipino restaurants in the area, nothing too challenging and on a par in prices with the others. My wife, who is from the Philippines, usually dismisses the cooking at NY Filipino restaurants as inferior to Filipino home cooking. I was very surprised that she thought the pinokbet, a kind of stew of fish, meat and vegetables to be very good. I had short ribs and they were tasty and plentiful. The service was pleasant but we thought a bit slow since it wasn't crowded for lunch. (Possibly it took the kitchen a while to get going.) I took a look at the private party room downstairs and that too was nicely decorated. We've been pleased to recommend Payag to friends and relatives, especially for occasions like Christenings and Sweet Sixteen Parties.
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