Now that the weather’s so nice in New York, all I can think about is getting away. Clearly it’s not possible to fly whenever you want, but a great way to fake it is to take the train to Brooklyn and have dinner on Pok Pok‘s outdoor patio, where you can almost feel like you’re eating in one of those homey, hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Bangkok. They really have the details down–the old school Thai music playing in the background, the kitschy table cloths, the OUTDOOR PATIO–that you truly feel like you’re in a different time and place. The prices are a little high for what they are, but it’s a small price to pay for a mini stay-cation.
Everyone talks about the famous chicken wings, which are notorious for a reason. These chickens are coated in a bold, spicy marinade consisting of a ton of garlic and fish sauce. Great if you like your chicken wings a little sassy, not so great for the person sitting right next to you. I personally found the wings a little too sweet, but otherwise I thought that they were perfectly cooked–crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside.
The real standout here was the hoi thawt, an amazing egg crepe filled with mussels, chives and bean sprouts. It sort of looks and sounds like a hot mess, but the flavors are so pure and undeniably delicious. The question I ask myself is, why don’t we see more hoi thawt on Thai menus? There’s a ton of pad thai and green curries, but never mussel crepes. These restaurants are holding out on us!
The papaya pok pok salad is very solid, although it is extremely spicy. At first you’ll find it sweet and refreshing, but then the heat suddenly builds, and builds, and BUILDS. I chugged my water and picked at every grain of rice as if my life depended on it. Ruoxi was sitting in a pool of his own sweat. I can handle moderate levels of heat, thanks to my Korean background, but this was way too much for me. Ruoxi, a novice to spicy foods, nearly died.
The only item that I didn’t really like was the laap muu khua phrae, a minced pork salad that tasted a little too fragrant and funky. And this one was extremely spicy as well. I essentially felt like I was eating spicy pork laced with potpourri, so needless to say it made me feel a little funny inside. It comes with a side of vegetables like Thai eggplant and cucumbers, which help relieve your palate of the heat, but not of the aromatic spices.
No Thai dinner is complete without some mango sticky rice, and the version they serve at Pok Pok is awesome. The mangoes were perfectly ripe, and the rice was sweet without being cloying. It was just the thing you would want after setting your mouth on fire. Afterwards, you can walk along the water taking in the views, and you start convincing yourself that you could actually move out to Brooklyn…until you realize the walk to the F train is 15 minutes, and the next train is another 15 minutes away. Traveling the distance for something special, just like a real vacation!
Pok Pok NY
117 Columbia St
Brooklyn, NY 11231