Purple Yam, its Brooklyn redux, is more traditional than its precursor. A few regional detours and multinational mash-ups endure—including a bland minipizza topped with mozzarella and a sort of wild-boar bolognese, and a pork slider on a mealy purple-yam roll—but it’s the by-the-books Flipino dishes that truly shine.
Purple Yam, which is in the heart of Ditmas Park’s new restaurant row—the Farm on Adderley and Picket Fence are on the same street—is a sleek slice of Soho transplanted to a part of Brooklyn where ethnic eats abound, but boutique dining options are still limited.
Even if you live nowhere near Ditmas, Purple Yam’s best dishes are worth an excursion. Filipino artist Perry Mamaril (also a former Cendrillon sous chef) helped transform a former 99 store into an Asian retreat, with a bamboo light fixture that glows gold behind the bar. The restaurant’s superior chicken adobo, the national dish of the Philippines, features on-the-bone nuggets braised in a soy-vinegar mixture cooked down to a syrup. The dish is simple and remarkably rich, with a buttery finish that comes from the last-minute addition of coconut milk.
Crispy fried pork belly (lechon kawali), another exceptional signature, predates the citywide mania for the oversold cut. Spoon-tender oxtail with baby eggplants and long beans in a thick peanut gravy (kare kare) is the best sort of Filipino home cooking, as is the fiery goat curry, featuring earthy chopped meat in a velvety coconut-milk-enriched gravy, with delicate rice crpes for wrapping it up.