That New New

Barkada Brings a Blend of Island Flavors to Edmonds

Tom Douglas alum Brian Madayag throws down Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, and Guamanian food alongside a lineup of tiki drinks inside his new restaurant.

By Rosin Saez January 17, 2018

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Barkada's located on Fifth Ave in Edmonds, on the edge of the main downtown dining drag near the ferry terminal.

Image: Barkada

A chilly slush of calamansi citrus and booze—churned all day into a smooth, icy cocktail of bright yellow—gets directly dispensed into...a pouch. It's an adult Capri Sun, straw and all, that tastes like tropical sunshine in bag. This drink, the Manila Ice, transports you to warmer climes and a time of childhood lunch boxes, but in fact dwells inside Barkada in Edmonds.

In late December, chef and owner Brian Madayag opened Barkada at 620 Fifth Avenue South along a stretch of other Edmonds restaurants and bars with western peeks of Puget Sound. Inside a quirky split-level space, formerly home to a teahouse, Madayag melds the cuisines he and his cooking cohort grew up with, which range from Hawaiian to Filipino to a playful fusion of the two. Upstairs: a handful of tables, a bar serving tiki drinks, and a mural of a tentacled octopus. Downstairs: a long table, tons of games—Battlefield, anyone? Loser has to buy a round of adobo oyster shooters swimming in fish sauce! Everywhere: a charming yet offbeat island-style nautical motif and Hawaiian reggae thrumming through the speakers.

In week three, Barkada already feels like a buzzy neighborhood joint. With no hood system and only a couple of induction burners, Madayag's managed to craft an eclectic menu of a dozen or so small plates. It's still in development mode, says the chef. "Eight bangers is the goal." But for now, you might start with a Filipino-style ceviche, a tombo tuna kilawen with fish sauce and calamansi, served with big rounds of airy shrimp chips. For something heartier he's co-opted his Aunt Belen's pork adobo recipe, a sure departure from tradition, here made with apple cider vinegar, braised pork shoulder, and pineapple served with white rice. There are also sushi rolls (one named after Magayag's own "beautiful mother Pilar") and behemoth Dungeness crab burrito.

See, Madayag likes to put his spin on burritos. Before opening Barkada, he was the chef at Tom Douglas's Cantina Leña and birthed the sisig burrito, a tortilla-wrapped bundle of carnitas, crispy pig ears, and garlic fried rice. Indeed the chef has worked in at least five T-Doug spots over the span of a decade.

When he and his wife moved with their son to Edmonds, where Madayag grew up, he found the Amtrak commute nice but brutal. That's fair. "My son taught me that I wanted to do my own thing for my family."

Check out Madayag's "own thing"—Barkada, that is—Tuesday through Thursday, 3–10pm, and Friday and Saturday from 3 until midnight.

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