It began with sweat. The sun pounding down onto our heads, the pavement radiating heat better than our boiler at home. A puddle of perspiration the only sign of liquid, as bf and I waited to eat. All of this suffering for Southeast Asian food at one of Brooklyn’s newest restaurants, Pok Pok Ny. But you know what? It was worth it.
Pok Pok Ny just opened last month, with Chef Andy Ricker leading the way. Ricker is known for his Thai restaurants in Portland, OR, but lucky for us, he decided to plop one in Cobble Hill NYC, too. It’s a bit out of the way for those coming from Manhattan, but truly has some of the most interesting, savory, and indulgent food I have ever tasted. Because of it’s popularity, a line begins forming before the restaurant opens, at 5:30 p.m. I would advise getting there around 5:10. You’ll be sure to get a seat, if so.
Our wait was nearly excrutiating in the 100 degree heat, but the staff must have been sympathizing with us, because they had water waiting at our table before we could even settle into our chairs. But not just any water. This particular aqueous liquid was flavored with Pandanus leaf, as is tradition in Northern Thailand, which gave it a toasty essence.
Pouring over menus like the perspiration collecting on the small of our backs, we found it difficult to narrow down what we wanted. Every description that I read made my stomach growl a little more ferociously. Meat or veggies was the big debate. The menu is fairly meat-centric, but there are some vegetarian and vegan options, too.
After much deliberation, we decided on the following:
Salted Plum Vodka Collins
Yes, the water was hydrating, but vodka on ice sounded refreshing. At first sip, I thought, “Ooo, that’s a little on the salty side,” but as the ice began to melt, the drink mellowed out, and the plum flavor became apparent.
Kaeng Hung Leh
Northern Thai sweet pork belly & pork shoulder curry with ginger, palm sugar, turmeric, & tamarin. SO RICH. My favorite.
Kung Op Wun Sen
Caroline white prawns (so succulent & sweet) baked in a clay pot over charcoal with pork belly, lao jiin, soy ginger, cilantro root, black pepper chinese celery and bean thread noodles. The prawns & pork are hiding under the noodles.
Het Paa Naam Tok (Vegetarian)
Spicy forest mushroom salad with soy sauce, lime and chili powder dressing, shallots, lemongrass, mint, cilantro and toasted rice powder. It was like eating spicy meat!
Vietnamese catfish marinated in turmeric & sour sticky rice fried in oil with scallions & dill. Served on rice vermicelli with peanuts, mint, cilantro, and mam nem. An explosion of flavor. Watch out. The mam nem will get you!
Pok Pok Ny | 127 Columbia St. | Brooklyn, NY 11231 | 718.923.9322