Mabuhay disappoints


If I wanted a Jucy Lucy, breakfast all day, or chicken and ribs, I might just as well stay in Minneapolis. But the promise of authentic Filipino cuisine? Definitely worth crossing the river.

The restaurant in question, Mabuhay, in the former Andy's Garage on University, is owned by Kenneth and Jovy Krahn--Ken used to own Kenny's Chicken and Ribs in White Bear Lake, so the new restaurant offers American fare Ken reprised from the chicken and rib joint, plus foods beloved by his Filipina wife.

Mabuhay is a Tagalog greeting, and we felt very welcomed by our server as we took a table in the garage-like space and perused our options. The menu listed burgers, cheese curds, and breakfast fare, but we were most interested in the page that detailed maybe 7 or 8 Filipino dishes. I was trying to decide between the tamarind soup, the pork hocks with peanut sauce, and the chicken adobo when our waitress informed us that only *one* of theFilipino dishes was available. Seriously? A Filipino/American restaurant that only serves one Filipino dish?

As someone attempting to maintain the integrity of a 500+ restaurant database, I'm going to make this rule: If you say you make Filipino cuisine, or any other category of cuisine, you have to offer at least three dishes that fit that description at all times (apparently a few more of the dishes are available on the lunch buffet).

My friend and I actually liked our chicken/rib combo plate better than the blah Filipino chicken adobo (chicken pieces in a thin, salty marinade served with a big bowl of white rice). The portions were large and the prices were low, but it wasn't interesting enough to compel the drive across town. Has anyone else dined at Mabuhay? What was your experience?

Mabuhay is located at 1825 W. University Ave., St. Paul; 651-286-8915.