A Full Table
Tables at Uncle Boons are not big. Expect to consolidate if you order more than a few items.
Lon Jai ($10)
The Thai version of a michelada looks like a glass of sriracha with a peppered rim. You mix your cold Singha into it and then—what's that?—coriander wafts up to your nose along with something more mysterious and musky. "It's salted pickled lime juice," the bartender tells me, as he puts a plate of their chopped lamb salad in front of me.
Mieng Kum ($12)
A mixture of coconut, lime, dried shrimp, chilies, and peanuts come served on top of a betel leaf wrap with a tart dipping sauce—the finely chopped elements come together like Captain Planet with all of the basic flavors of Thai cuisine in one tiny bite.
Giant head-on prawns singed with char induce greedy sucking as they disappear. They're better with a simple squeeze of charred lime—the too-thin lime and chili dipping sauce is more an exercise in frustration than flavor as it drips and dribbles, flavoring the table and plate instead of the meat.
Kanom Jiin Keow Wan Jaa ($21)
The only vegetarian entree on the menu has the makings of something great, but the noodles and overly thick green curry quickly coagulate into a heavy, starchy solid. We picked at the fried shallots and steamed egg, like picking the cherries and mandarins off of the ambrosia salad on the pot-luck table.
Puk Boong Fai Dang ($5)
Sauteed water spinach crunches as it squeezes out its sweet and spicy soy-based sauce—straight out of a Bangkok night market.
The roti are doughy and entirely skippable.
There are some strange beverage choices made here, like the decision not to carry any actual sodas, but to carry an artificially flavored sparkling seltzer water. Served with a bit of pickled lime juice, the drink was delicious and refreshing, but I kinda wanted my Coke, and man do Thai people love their sugary drinks.
Comfortable, small, and well-appointed with random tchotchkes and paintings.
Yum Kai Hua Pli ($15)
For all its attention to balance and quality ingredients, there's one thing that some Thai fan-boys may crave. "Careful, this is the hottest dish on the menu," our waiter warned us one night as he set the Yum Kai Hua Pli ($15)—a chicken and banana blossom salad—down in front of us. We tasted, tasted, and tasted some more. Fiery, it wasn't, but dang if that ain't some of the tenderest, most flavorful chicken you'll ever taste.
Hoi Nana Rom Yen Ta Fo ($16)
Roasted oysters on the half shell are also skippable—the fermented tofu and chili sauce distract from their natural brininess rather than adding.
Sai Krok Ampai ($12)
A slightly mealy house-made pork and sticky rice sausage ("Mama Pai's recipe!" the menu cutely exclaims) served over pickled cabbage that reminds you uncannily of a Papaya king dog with sauerkraut.
Massaman Neuh ($22)
So what that the potatoes in the Massaman curry come in noodle-like, semi-raw threads instead of the tender chunks you're used to? The slow-braised beef cheeks in it offer more tenderness than you'll ever need.
Khao Soi Kaa Kai ($20)
The best of the curry dishes is a big 'ol bowl of Thai comfort, and one that makes me wish the weather were colder. A chicken leg quarter braised until fall-apart tender in Northern-style golden curry, served with thick hand-rolled egg noodles that resemble Italian pici more than anything, and plenty of bright pickled shallots and mustard greens.
Yum Mamoung Na Boon ($14)
Another one of the dishes that at first made me say, aw, I wish it was just a bit more spicy... but slowly grew on me as the subtle herbal and citrus balance came through—something I might have missed had my mouth been numbed.
Kai Yan Muay Thai ($22)
There's a single window from the dining room into the kitchen that offers you a view of the star of the show—a rotisserie chicken, slowly revolving above a fire, warming up like a kickboxer getting ready for a fight. Fitting, as the dish is based on the popular Muay Thai ringside snack of roast chicken with spicy dipping sauces. But I can guarantee you that no chicken in a boxing arena in Thailand is as succulent, juicy, or chickeny as this one. If there's any reason to visit Uncle Boons, this is it right here.
Kao Pat Kuk Kapi ($24)
Who cares if the hulking, barely-tender grilled pork spare ribs look like they belong on a Southern soul food platter, not a Southern Thai platter? You'll be just as happy to get your fingers sticky eating it (especially because it allows you to get at the funky shrimp paste rice underneath).
Kao Pat Pu ($25)
Fried rice can be relegated to boring stand-by status on many Thai menus, but here large chunks of fresh crab meat and a distinct seafood aroma elevate it to best-of status.