Pok Pok Ny rode into Brooklyn from Portland, Oregon, on a wave of hype—just the kind of thing some Chowhounds are allergic to. (The restaurant is the follow-up to the more snackish Pok Pok Wing, a six-month-old hound hangout in Manhattan.) Not surprisingly, the early word was skeptical and mixed, but hounds are coming around to the northern Thai dishes. A recent special of winged beans with shrimp, pork, and fried shallots was "spicy, sweet, crunchy, amazing," jon says. Pork belly and shoulder curry (kaeng hung leh) is rich and deeply flavorful, tex.s.toast reports, and water spinach stir-fried with chiles, garlic, and preserved beans (phak buung fai daeng) brings to mind similar dishes from favorite haunts in Bangkok. Others recommend Brussels sprouts with sticky rice, a Chinese-style clay pot of shrimp with pork belly and vermicelli (kung op wun sen), and rice noodles in broth with pork rib, minced beef, dried fish, and house-pickled mustard greens (khanom jiin naam ngiew).
Still, some hounds remain unconvinced. Pok Pok Ny may be the best Thai restaurant in Brooklyn, bobjbkln says, but it's "much surpassed by the best of Queens." Longtime fan of Thai food Simon enjoyed chile-spiked grilled pork neck but found the northern Thai herbal salad "kind of a joke," short on herbs and dominated by shredded carrot, and the catfish laap light on chile heat and leaden with rice flour. "Northern Thai cooking is one of my favorites," he says, "and because I like the general herby/sour profile of the cuisine, I liked my meal, but the hype seems a little silly." What Pok Pok's critics may be overlooking, says Dave Feldman, another veteran Thai hound, is that chef-owner Andy Ricker is serving Thai dishes, herbs, and spices that can't be found anywhere else in the New York region. "Pok Pok is a good thing for NY eating," Dave says.
Pok Pok Ny [Columbia Street Waterfront District]
127 Columbia Street (between Kane and Degraw streets), Brooklyn
Discuss: Pok Pok NY...good, not great