Charles Olalia is a talented chef who traded in his fine-dining credentials to focus on Filipino comfort food with finely honed technique at a tiny DTLA restaurant called Ricebar that features heirloom Filipino rice bowls. This year, Olalia also partnered with restaurateurs Wade McElroy and Russell Malixi on a more raucous Silver Lake restaurant called Ma’am Sir. The building was previously most famous for a swirling mural that was on the cover of Elliott Smith’s “Figure 8” album, but is now a place where “dishes and drinks embody the beach culture of the Philippines with a fun yet polished twist.”
In a brown cushioned booth beneath banana leaf wallpaper, skylights that allowed for streaming sunlight, and rafters strung with “vines,” my family and I enjoyed a series of powerhouse Filipino dishes.
Crispy Pork Lechon ($18) features luscious rectangles of pork belly sporting crispy blistered skins that Olalia planted in a shallow pool of spicy vinegar sauce, showered with crunchy scallions, and served with punchy pickled vegetables that people call atchara in the Philippines. A squeeze of lime brings even more brightness to balance the rich meat.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.