Ever feel like every Thai restaurant in Brooklyn has the same menu? Getting tired of underwhelming pad thai takeout? Pok Pok NY, an offshoot of chef Andy Ricker’s Portland, Oregon sensation, promises to raise the bar with their next-level authentic Southeast Asian dishes. Pok Pok NY will be coming to the Columbia Street Waterfront District (c’mon people – can’t we come up with a better name for this hood?) early next year.
The Pok Pok menu is already making our mouths water — Think wild prawns baked with pork belly in a clay pot; spicy mushroom salad with lemongrass, mint, and cilantro; and rotisserie chicken served with tamarind dipping sauce.
Pok Pok is definitely not about ‘fusion.’ According to their website, “…everything has been researched, eaten, and/or prepared in the country of its origin prior to being put on the Pok Pok menu,” and you can see pictures of the dishes in their countries of origin on Pok Pok’s Facebook page. So you’re not going to see hamburger curry, but you will find things like Kaeng Hung Leh: Northern Thai sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry with palm sugar, ginger, and Burmese curry powder.
In addition to street cred, Pok Pok has chef cred: Andy Ricker won the 2011 James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, and the restaurant has been covered by Saveur, Food & Wine, and the Food Network (Best Thing I Ever Ate). The original restaurant was built in Ricker’s house, and it’s expanded to become a Portland phenomenon. Now, Ricker and Pok Pok are ready to jump into the big New York pond, with plans for the restaurant in Brooklyn and a smaller takeout joint in the old Baohaus space on the LES.
The full-service restaurant will open at 127 Columbia Street, smack in the middle of the Columbia Street Waterfront District (which means it’s within walking distance of the F train at Bergen or Carroll Streets, for you non-Red Hook residents). The indoor space will be small, but they plan to have lots of outdoor seating when the warmer weather returns.