Bite of the Week: Whole Grilled Pompano from Alvin Cailan’s Amboy

An up-close look at our editors’ favorite bites from around the city

What: Whole grilled pompano—a small-ish fish that hangs out in the Atlantic—served with white rice, tomato salad, and a house-made chili sauce, all wrapped up in banana leaves.

Where: Alvin Cailan’s Unit 120, the Chinatown culinary incubator that’s currently devoted to all things edible and Filipino. During the day time, it’s Cailan’s pop-up Amboy serving up simply grilled meats, rice, and veggies.

When: Wednesday at noon during an absolute scorcher of a lunch break when you considered leaving the car running while you got your food just so the air conditioning could stay on.

The Final Bite: It’s a trip being able to smell Chego while waiting in line at Amboy. At some point, when a particularly chili-and-garlic-scented breeze came by, I regretted not getting a Chubby Pork Belly bowl. But Amboy’s food has a totally different appeal than Chego; it’s intentionally simple and accessible. The focus is on the char of the meat, the perfect cook on the rice, and the freshness of the veggies. The seafood special of the day was $10 (where else are you going to get a whole fish that cheap?) and most other meats are in the $7-$8 range, which is totally in line with Cailan’s goal to become a true neighborhood spot.