Sunday, December 6, 2015

POK POK LA (CHINATOWN, LOS ANGELES, CA)

Pok Pok LA
978 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
www.pokpokla.com
Tel: 213.613.1831
$$ ($15-$30)
Cuisine: Thai
Thurs, 11/19/2015, 9:00pm reservation
    (4 Piglets)


I loved the flavors of Pok Pok during my visit to Portland. So when I first heard that Pok Pok was coming to LA, my heart was filled with food ecstasy. I could finally taste those Ike's Vietnamese wings as often as I would like, right here in the heart of Los Angeles.  

James Beard Award winner Andy Ricker is the heart and soul behind Pok Pok. The chef, who resided in Thailand, researched the food to bring authentic dishes to us, hungry piglets. Majority of the dishes are Thai based, but there are a few that come from the streets of Southeast Asia.

The d├ęcor is pretty simple and is reminiscent of a pub found in Thailand. There are Christmas lights that brighten up the dining room. Pink, plastic tablecloths with floral prints line each table giving the place some color. There is patio seating as well for the warm, summer months.


The interior
Exterior
Complimentary peanuts
MANGO ALEXANDER ($12.00): Mango, Vodka, Coconut Cream and Lime, Shaken and Served Up. O-M-G! This drink is absolutely amazeballs! I couldn't get enough of this drink to the point where I felt the need to attempt to recreate it at home. It's thick, sweet, and full of deliciousness in a cup! A MUST ORDER!

 
YUZU-HONEY WHISKEY HOT TODDY ($12.00):  Korean Yuzu-honey tea with bourbon. If you were ever sick, this is the drink to cure all! It's warm in your tummy and not overly sweet. Smooth and soothing to your throat. Love this! 


MY FAVORITE DISH. IKE'S VIETNAMESE FISH SAUCE WINGS ($15.50-available in spicy): Half dozen fresh whole natural chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce and garlic and served with Vietnamese salad. These wings are absolutely amazing. Who would've thought a cook of the restaurant would be the man behind creating one of Pok Pok's signature dishes. So much flavor packed into these little wings. It was a little on the "fishier" end than how I remembered them to be in Portland, but good nonetheless. The garlic and caramelized fish sauce gave the dish depth and richness. I just wish there was more! 
KAI YAANG ($14.00-HALF BIRD):Roasted Mary's natural chicken stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, pepper and cilantro, served with spicy/sweet/sour and tamarind dipping sauces. This was my least favorite dish of the night. Some parts of the chicken were quite dry. The flavor of the chicken was good, but compared to the other dishes, it didn't live up to the level of execution. 
KHAO SOI ($16.25-CHICKEN OR VEGETARIAN): Northern Thai mild curry noodle soup made with our secret curry paste recipe and house pressed coconut milk , served with house pickled mustard greens, shallots, crispy yellow noodles and roasted chili paste. This one pot dish was my second favorite dish of the night. It was rich and not overly powered with curry. I loved the crispy noodles and I definitely could just go to Pok Pok and have this as my main meal. 
KAENG HANG LEH ($16.00): Northern Thai sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry with ginger, palm sugar, tumeric, tamarind, Burmese curry powder, and pickled garlic. This dish was one of my favorites of the night. It was rich, savory, and the pork belly was so tender that a fork could just pull off the meat. I thought the dish developed deep flavors and it went perfect with our coconut rice. 
KHANOM PANG AI TIIM ($7.00): Coconut-jackfruit ice cream served on a sweet bun with peanuts, sweet sticky rice condensed milk, and chocolate syrup. I hated this dessert and I normally don't hate desserts cause I'll eat anything sweet. The ice cream was a bit icy and the bread-ice cream ratio was way off. Just too much bread for so little ice cream. Texture wise, I wasn't fond of the sticky rice under the ice cream. To me, everything just didn't mesh well together. 
Overall, Pok Pok LA is still pretty darn good for Thai food. I'm still really happy it finally has landed in LA after all this time. Chef Andy Ricker has done something special to this place to recreate what would seem like a restaurant in Thailand. The drinks are phenomenal and the food is fantastic. I also appreciate that he puts a little background of where the dishes came from on the menu (although it does read a bit long). My only complaint is that they delivered all the food at once so we were left with no space for our plates. We actually had to use the table next to ours to place some of the food that was delivered. If they staggered the food, I would have been more of a happy camper. 

Notable dishes: Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings, Khao Soi, and Kaeng Hang Leh

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