Ever since reading about Pok Pok in Portland several years ago, I had wanted to try their take on Thai street food. The Brooklyn location opened last night and I went with two other food-obsessed friends. Pok Pok NY is on Columbia St., in that vague area that some might call Red Hook and others call Cobble Hill. As we expected, people in the surrounding area showed up in full force, and the wait was over an hour, but wow, was the trip worth it!
Here are a few snapshots from opening night:
There’s a front dining room and a makeshift back area set up to resemble a casual restaurant in Southeast Asia, right down the colorful plastic table cloths. Painted benches out back suggest there will be plenty of outdoor seating in the summer too.
We decided on whim to do a side-by-side comparison of several Asian lagers at the same time, just to see if they are in fact indistinguishable. Verdict: Singha from Thailand tastes exactly the same as Beer Lao from Laos. Beer Chang from Thailand is noticeably maltier.
The menu was more extensive than I thought it would be. We ordered the Kung Op Wun Sen that came with larger-than-jumbo prawns.
The catfish salad with galangal, mint, and toasted rice powder was good, but not my favorite of the night.
That prize would go to Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. If you go to Pok Pok, you must order these. They have the perfect level of spiciness, with a heady amount of fish sauce that will make you want to order another plate even as you’re stuffed from everything else. Look how crispy they are in the photo! Also well worth ordering is another house special, the green papaya salad on the left, spicy and refreshing at the same time.
I foresee many summer afternoons here, once they open the outdoor area, with wings, papaya salad, and a Singha to wash everything down.