Mon - Sun: 5:30PM - 10:30PM
"No frills, but all thrills" is the word on Andy Ricker's "bold" Columbia Waterfront destination that lures throngs with its "affordable", "delectable" takes on "real Thai" classics; despite a no-rez rule and "crazy" waits, aficionados say "believe the hype" – and suggest whiling away the time pre-meal in its cocktails-and-snacks adjunct, Whiskey Soda Lounge, across the street.
At this Brooklyn offshoot of Andy Ricker's James Beard award–winning Southeast Asian restaurant in Portland, Ore., the chef trounces typical pad thai and Penang curry with flavor explosions like spicy-sweet caramelized chicken wings with a hint of fish sauce funk, and rich, gingery pork belly stewed with tamarind and Burmese curry powder.
Pok Pok draws a neighborhood crowd as well as diners who travel great lengths to feast on Ricker's reasonably priced, authentically spicy Thai cooking. The informative menu traces the origins of each dish and guides diners through a handful of uncommon specialties from Thailand's neighboring countries. Vietnam's Cha Ca "La Vong," for example, pairs turmeric-rubbed catfish with a tangle of rice vermicelli, fresh dill, mint and cilantro, crunchy peanuts and taste bud–tingling pineapple mam nem. Pok Pok's cocktails, which often make use of house-made tart and tangy drinking vinegars, pack the same bright, punchy flavors as the food. But one of the tastiest sips is a freebie — the complimentary drinking water is infused with the toasty, grassy, infinitely refreshing flavor of the tropical pandanus leaf.
Although there are three dining areas — a narrow front room lined with bar stools and snug tables, a tented back room decorated with hanging plants and Christmas lights (heated in winter), and a garden with a handful of umbrella tables — snagging a seat is a challenge. Pok Pok doesn't take reservations, and waits on the weekends commonly top three hours (you can leave your phone number and wait at a nearby bar). There's less traffic around opening time on weeknights, but you should still be prepared for a long night.
F, G to Bergen St.
What to tell a cabbie
Take me to Columbia St. between Kane St. and Degraw St. in Brooklyn.
Where restaurant insiders are eating now
Dining out in New York can add up quickly, between tasting menu dinners, upscale lunch joints and $16 cocktails.Read more »
Long a patchwork of neighborhoods settled by different immigrant populations, the Bronx has the culinary landscape to reflect that history. Arthur Avenue is considered a Little Italy par excellence (or is that per eccellenza?), and Riverdale attracted and has retained a substantial Jewish population.Read more »
There are plenty of worthy spots to dine on the Upper West Side. And there’s certainly a populous clientele at the ready. But it seems that every occupant of the neighborhood is eating at one place these days: Bustan. Who isn’t there is the question. Geraldo RiveraRead more »
You’re going to see Newsies at the Nederlander Theatre and you need to know where to eat dinner beforehand? No problem!Read more »
We are currently searching our extensive restaurant listings.