Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 12/05/2012
Photo: Evan Sung
Pok Pok Phat Thai
137 Rivington St., 212-477-1299, Lower East Side, Manhattan
Pad Thai—or phat Thai—is Thailand's culinary calling card, an affable introduction to the complex flavors of the Southeast Asian country. But the earthy phat Thai at Pok Pok, courtesy of Andy Ricker, is not like any you've had in New York. Take the phat Thai ruam, rice noodles cooked in rendered pork fat with tamarind, fish sauce, egg, garlic chives, bean sprouts, palm sugar, crushed peanuts, dried tofu and dried shrimp, plus sweet prawns and ground pork. A dusting of chili powder adds heat. There's plenty of flavor, but a caddy holding soy sauce, raw sugar, fish sauce and more chili powder is provided for adjustments. The hole-in-the-wall is found down a flight of stairs on a scruffy Lower East Side block and was formerly Ricker's Pok Pok Wing, which focused on chicken wings. The wings are gone from this locale (try them at Pok Pok Ny in Brooklyn if you've got a hankering). Be warned: this is street food indeed, but there's often a line—each dish is made to order, so it's not to be equated with "fast" food.