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“Pok Pok Ny”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Asian Brooklyn Moderate Don't Bother

I experienced two wonderful things on my recent trip to Pok Pok Ny, Portland-chef Andy Ricker’s adored and critically acclaimed Thai restaurant on the Brooklyn waterfront. The first was shocking in its wonder: On a Thursday night, at 6:30pm, there was no line! This was the case all evening long, from the time Steven and I arrived and took our seats in the sweet backyard dining room— lit with strands of colorful lights, its tables covered in plastic red gingham cloths, its walls made from bamboo, like a Hawaiian Luau might appear magically in a big “poof” from the center of the room—until the time we left around 9pm. No line. A Brooklyn miracle! Given the stories I’d heard of waits beginning by 5:30, I had been bracing myself for an hour or two of hanging around. I’d even had a snack before leaving the house to make sure I would not get too cranky while waiting on our table. (I’m like an infant. I get terribly irritable when overtired or too hungry. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s true.)

Aside from the lack of a wait, we also had a fantastic waitress—a lovely young lady who reminded me of the character “Amber” played by Mae Whitman on the series “Parenthood.” You know the type—cute hair in ironic pig tails, an effortlessly cool look, in this case, rolled up jean shorts, vintage t-shirt, Chuck Taylors, and 70s plastic-framed butter yellow eye glasses that she probably doesn’t need for any sort of issue with her vision. I just loved her. She was friendly, knew that menu like the road to Burning Man, and was helpful, attentive, and just so hip. I wanted to be her. My guess is most 40-year old Brooklyn moms would.

In any case, other than the lack of line, the great waitress, oh, and the wonderful cocktails, there was nothing else that I liked about Pok Pok. Seriously. I’ve now listed all that was good about my experience there. I know many of you will wonder whether I’ve lost my mind, but I’m fairly certain I have not. The food was just not good. In fact, Steven and I kept ordering and ordering, hoping each time that we’d just chosen poorly and that the next dish would redeem the restaurant’s reputation. But no, it never happened.

The Laap Pet Isaan ($16) – a traditional Northeastern Thai spicy chopped duck salad was a sad in contrast to the terrific one you can get at Kin Shop. Pok ... [more, click below]

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