New Burger Spot Lazy Bastard Holds so Much Promise, but the Food is Another StoryMay 8, 2015
We haven’t done a negative review in awhile. Maybe we’ve been scared or put off by it, because we gained a bit of a reputation; we were told that we were ripping into places for no reason but for sport. It’s a struggle sometimes, whether we should inform the public or keep opinions to ourselves, and chalk it down to experience or a systematic glitch. But sometimes, there are meals that are a little bit too disheartening, you’ve got no other choice, really, and pray that you won’t get crucified.
This is why we debated so much on whether or not to talk about Lazy Bastard. On one hand, the relatively new restaurant holds so much promise. It has everything going for it: a semi-hidden location, an infinitely cool-looking tiny space complete with neon signage and a chalkboard wall, and a beautiful speakeasy tucked behind it. It is nothing short of awesome. But the food is another story entirely.
The concept is very much inspired by Crif Dogs in New York, which is also the location of secret bar PDT. Lazy Bastard, is home too to a speakeasy, ABV, which is hidden behind a nondescript door at the front of the establishment. The short order menu is almost the same, too, with an emphasis on hot dogs that are wrapped in bacon then deep-fried. Aside from that, you’ve got a basic list of other greased-up grub: burgers, make-your-own breakfast sandwiches, and a few deep-fried sides. It’s a menu that’s easy to please, with comfort written all over it. And because their inspiration has such an exacting reputation, you’d immediately think that this place should do them justice, or make them even better.
Instead, orders come to you, and while things look a little promising, expectations are quickly let down. Burgers come with flat buns, which sadly take away from the patties as they are cooked to an acceptable medium and are almost on the right side of juicy. Sloppy joes are weird, with meat that has an odd way-too-mushy texture leading to indiscernible taste, rather than robust flavor. Tater tots covered in bacon are on the wrong edge of hedonistic—way too oily and burnt, that one bite releases a little too much grease. Make your own sandwiches don’t fare any better, with sausage patties that don’t have the herbaceousness you’d expect. The hotdogs are definitely much better, but only marginally. The bread is still slightly depressing, but the dogs themselves snap well, and the honey parmesan version was surprisingly exciting, after a meal that didn’t quite live up to the promise.
The thing about Lazy Bastard is it could be so much more. Aesthetically, it has all the makings of a place that could build up quite the cult following. It could offer the best hotdogs in Manila, the most irreverent burgers in town, and deliver food with the experience that it promises. At the moment, it lives up to its moniker. A great shame, because ABV is one of the best bars in Manila at the moment, a shining spot and well-appointed, well-executed addition to our growing small bar scene. Lazy Bastard needs to meet its standard.