Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pok Pok

Pok Pok is a predominantly-Thai restaurant in SE Portland. However, they are likely more accurately classified as Southeast Asian cuisine, with the majority of their food with North and Northeast Thailand roots.

You can see some of the full bar in the background. Go nuts, my fellow drinkers.

I originally thought the restaurant opened around 11 a.m., so I arrived at about 11:10. However, I saw the hours had changed and they now open at 11:30. I talked with a friendly couple who raved big time about the Vietnamese chicken wings. A friend of mine had told me about Pok Pok and explicitly told me to get the wings. Considering the wings were also on an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," I figure you can't go wrong with those.

I'm actually glad that I got to Pok Pok early. By the time the place opened, about 15 people (including a group of seven) were waiting outside. Seems normal for a popular restaurant, and I like it.

I was seated promptly, and the service was great. I ordered the spicy version of Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce chicken wings, and then I ordered their "Yam Tuna" to go. The Yam Tuna is a "Thai-style tuna salad with ginger, garlic, Thai chilies, green onions, lemongrass, cherry tomatoes, and canned Oregon albacore in a spicy lime and fish sauce dressing."

A better view of the wings. I know you're hungry. Go get them. Now.
Yam Tuna (Thai-style tuna salad)
The wings are $12 and worth every penny. There is just so much flavor in there. The fish sauce and the sugars combine for an off-the-hook experience. Adding the red chili flakes on the wings adds a hint of spice, but of course, that spice is just child's play to me.

The tuna salad ($10) was good, although I don't personally think this is worth the price. I wish the tuna was fresh, as opposed to canned, for the price they list. The sauce is great. The combination of citrus and fish sauce works well here. I don't think they needed to drown the salad in the dressing, however. thankfully, the dressing is liquid and not a creamy dressing.

For the person wanting some alcohol, Pok Pok has a full bar with an extensive list of drink options. Go nuts, my friend.

Two criticisms: the water in the carafe was warm (it should always be ice water or cold water), and the aluminum cups gave an off-putting aftertaste of rice. Well, it was either the water or the cups.

Overall, this place still gets a thumbs up. I would come back just for the wings, but there are also some other options on the menu that intrigue me. Their "Kai Yaang" (Thai BBQ chicken) and the "Papaya Pok Pok" (spicy green papaya salad) are their other signature menu items. Also, if you're there for dinner, check out the "Muu Paa Kham Waan" (boar collar) that was also featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." 8/10

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