Leah Cohen's first restaurant, Pig and Khao, has been a Lower East Side mainstay since it opened on Clinton Street in 2012—a fun, funky place with a Southeast Asian menu highlighted, in my opinion, by an excellent Pig Head Sisig. Now chef Cohen, with her partner (and husband) Ben Byruch, are bringing some of that "downtown cool" to the area around Penn Station with Piggyback NYC, a bar and Pan-Asian restaurant that already seems to have attracted a lively afterwork scene.

Piggyback NYC is a sprawling affair. There are high tables right up front before the substantial L-shaped bar, then a narrow dining area parallel to the semi-open kitchen, and another dining room below a large skylight. Keep going and you hit the Way Back Bar, a huge room that can be used as an event space or as spillover when the house is full.

It's a lot, which the raucous decor amplifies. There's a neon cityscape mural, dozens of classic American movie posters in a variety of languages, newspapers plastered to walls like decoupage, a flat screen TV in a baroque frame looping content, and a billboard-sized booze ad in the back. The bones of the place are industrial, with raw brick, a tin ceiling, and exposed pipes and ducts. Each of the four bathrooms are decked-out with a different design, and a photo booth is at the ready if you want a memento from your dinner.

The menu is also a bit of journey, as Cohen draws from her extensive trips cooking and eating throughout the region. I ate at the restaurant twice in the past few weeks, once at a complimentary press preview, and then again as a paying customer after it had opened. In standard casual fashion these days, everything is meant to be shared, and dishes are brought out as ready, rather than in courses.

Cohen's Lumpia, those Filipino spring rolls stuffed with pork and beef, are among the best I've ever had, perfectly crisp on the outside and exploding with flavor within. The Korean Wings are plump, heavily battered, and smothered in sweet honey butter gochujang. There are chilled Smoked Mussels served with oversized rice cracker chips, and Tofu 3-Ways, a room temperature mound of the soy protein in various guises (I enjoyed the skin the most) tossed with carrots and cucumbers in a fiery Sichuan sauce.

In the Noodles and Rice section I tried the Choeng Chee See Ew, a pile of rolled rice noodles with meager bits of pork belly, which lacked any real character, but I hear the Thai Fried Rice, served with shrimp and Chinese sausage, is the way to go here. The tempura-ish Cauliflower, billed as a side dish, came soaking in a pool of lovely green curry. You can also get Tuna Tartare, a Wonton Mee noodle dish, Curry Puffs filled with beef, Salt and Pepper Shrimp, and the Okie Toast, a dramatic-looking, very tall spin on classic okonomiyaki.

There's a lot of action under the Big Stuff heading, though plan on spending some money if you venture down here. The Nasi Lemak features Cohen's fried chicken (one thigh, one leg), along with an array of appealing accompaniments, and the Hainanese Duck pairs the fowl with duck-fat fried rice cooked to a crisp. High rollers can tuck into a $92 Ribeye and Bone Marrow platter for two, but if you're in the mood for some shellfish-type luxury, the White Pepper Lobster was superb.

The cocktail, wine, and beer list, created and curated by Ben Schmitt, runs many pages long. Drinks include original concoctions like A Chick Named Sadie (gin, Thai basil), Bars For Days (tequila, gochujang), and Mercenary's Revenge (rye, Pandan leaf), and the beers are a combination of local and Asian favorites.

Piggyback NYC is located at 140 West 30th Street, between Seventh and Sixth Avenues, and is now open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to midnight (212-239-0570; piggybacknyc.com)