Chef Minh Phan recently returned to seasonal porridge patrol after a three-year absence by opening an airy Porridge + Puffs cafe in Historic Filipinotown. Her porridge is even better than I remembered from her days in Hollywood.
Porridge is typically a pretty humble dish in Asian cuisines, often eaten for breakfast with simple toppings like ginger, pork, seafood, vegetables, and possibly a sliced century egg. Chef Phan does for porridge what SQIRL chef-owner Jessica Koslow did for the grain bowl, possibly more. She makes every bowl shine with color, texture, and complementary flavors.
It was tough to pick a favorite porridge from the three bowls I shared with a friend, but I’ll go with Yakimiso + Sausage ($12). This dish deftly balanced soothing rice porridge with bold accompaniments. Grilled black-eyed pea miso received balancing boosts with sweet-tart KnK nectarines, ginger, and aromatics. Crumbled, numbing spice-braised pork sausage (optional) joined fennel in black bean sauce, punchy rose-geranium onion and celery pickles, and microgreen garnishes.