|The famously addictive fish sauce-marinated wings - though Pok Pok Ny serves far more than just wings|
We have recently written about Chef Andy Ricker's dangerously addictive Vietnamese-inspired chicken wings at Pok Pok Wing on the Lower East Side. That location's 2-item menu provides only a slight prelude to Ricker's exceedingly impressive "Northern Southeast Asian" restaurant in Brooklyn: Pok Pok Ny. (The last word, oddly, rhymes with "my" yet still somehow indicates "New York"). It is also very hard to get to, sitting across from a shipping yard in an un-named neighborhood in Brooklyn between Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights far from all subways. In that sense, it is keeping up with other top notch yet hard to get to Thai restaurants like Sripraphai, out in Woodside, Queens (at least that one's near the LIRR stop). But that doesn't stop the crowds from lining up well before the restaurant opens for dinner service.
|The line waiting for Pok Pok Ny to open for dinner|
Now is the time to go to Pok Pok Ny, since their ample outdoor garden greatly supplements the smaller indoor space (though, perhaps a few weeks ago before the N.Y. Times review was published would have been better).
The food is inventive yet authentic and unlike anything you'll find at the city's more pedestrian Thai restaurants (no Penang Curry or Pad Thai here for example). Not everything is amazing, but the food is certainly worth taking the hike - and lining up for a visit.
|An excellent charcoal grilled pork neck - with an odd side of chilled mustard greens|
|Pok Pok Bloody Mary|
The Vietnamese wings are also on the menu at this location and for whatever reason, I felt they were even better here than at Pok Pok Wing. Perhaps they were fresher or maybe the first portion a few weeks before warmed me up to the fish sauce-imbued flavor. Simply awesome.
Many dishes combined numerous flavors and textures - and all looked messy on the plate -- for the most part, all of these elements successfully came together.
|Crispy crepes with steamed mussels|
A spicy and sweet forest mushroom salad also combined numerous flavors into a successful dish. Despite all of the strong flavors added to the mushrooms - soy sauce, lime, chilis, shallots, lemongrass, mint, cilantro, toasted rice powder - the mushrooms held their own.
|Forest mushroom salad|
|Sweet and spicy spare ribs|
In case you haven't had enough sugar from the savory courses, Pok Pok serves a competent mango sticky rice, as well as a fun coconut-jackfruit ice cream sandwich served on a sweet hot dog bun with peanuts and sweet sticky rice. Their take on an affogato with Vietnamese coffee and a Chinese doughnut is also popular.
|Coconut and jackfruit ice cream sandwich|
The no reservations policy is annoying, but not unexpected in New York these days. In the end, we're more than willing to accept long lines, no reservations, and touch and go service for creative and delicious food that can't be found easily anywhere else. Pok Pok Ny is the most recent and excellent foray in that category.
Pok Pok Ny
127 Columbia St.
Brooklyn NY 11231
Recommended Dishes: Pok Pok Bloody Mary ($10), Ike's Wings ($12.50), Hoi Thawt (crispy crepes with steamed mussels) ($14), Sii Khrong Muu Yaang (spare ribs) ($16), Muu Kham Waan (pork neck) ($16), Het Paa Naam Tok (forest mushrooms) ($12), Ice cream sandwich ($6.50).
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