Review By: Stefanie Parks –
After eating first at Pok Pok Wings in the LES and then at Pok Pok NY in Brooklyn, I pretty much concluded that anything Pok Pok is the best thing ever. No joke. My first experience was with their chicken wings, and to this day, they are the single best dish that I’ve had in NY. Unfortunately for all of you that haven’t tried the wings yet, you will now have to go to Pok Pok NY to get them, though everything is delicious, so maybe that’s not a bad thing. It is definitely worth the trip to Brooklyn and the 2+ hour wait that you will likely have. Trust me.
A few weeks ago, I heard that there was something new opening up in what used to be Pok Pok Wings. At first, I was devastated and maybe even a little outraged. How could they shut down the place with my favorite chicken wings (and all-around favorite dish) in the city!!! But then, when I heard what was opening in its place, though I was still very sad, I was also very curious. Pok Pok Wings was now Pok Pok Phat Thai. Same amazing restaurant, new amazing dish!?! Ok, I immediately had a new restaurant in the #1 spot on my wish list.
Dave and I headed down there for a late date night. We figured the later the went, the less we would have to wait (there are only 15 seats, after all). Lucky for us, we got there and the place was pretty empty, which I guess could be expected at 10pm.
After an in-depth discussion with the lady taking our order, we decided on the House Roasted Red Peanuts with chilis, garlic, sea salt, and lime leaf, the Phat Thai Ruam, which is regular pad thai with prawns and ground pork, and then the Kuaytiaw Khua Kai, which is fresh wide rice noodles stir-fried in rendered pork fat with chicken, cuttlefish (similar to squid or octopus), egg, and green onions, served on lettuce. The menu notes that it’s a Bangkok Chinatown specialty.
After we placed our order up front, we sat down at two of Pok Pok’s 15 stools and anxiously awaited our food. The peanuts came out first and they were delicious. We had recently had great peanuts at Mission Chinese Food, and these were equally as great. I did my best to not eat every peanut on the plate, as I knew that we had much more amazing food on its way.
The Phat Thai looked pretty standard, and I don’t know what it was or how they do it, but somehow it was just better and more delicious than any other pad thai that I’ve had. As good as that was though, the Kuaytiaw Khua Kai was the star of the night. The noodles were soft, but somehow also crispy and every flavor in the dish was just out of this world. I was definitely expecting the pad thai to steal the show (considering the restaurant is called Pok Pok Phat Thai), and even though I don’t really even know what the Kuaytiaw Khua Kai was (yes, I read the menu like 15 times, but I still really just don’t know), that is the dish that I will be returning to Pok Pok Phat Thai for… And now that I know it might not be around forever, I’ll definitely make sure to get back there soon.
The three Pok Pok meals that I’ve eaten have been three of the best meals that I’ve had in NY. Every dish is not only delicious, it’s the best of its kind that I’ve ever had… Which is why that I’ve decided to move the whole Pok Pok empire to number 1 on my list of favorite/best NY restaurants. As excited I am to go back to Pok Pok, I’m even more excited to see what they do with the LES location next.