Slideshow: Uncle Boons: Traditional Thai Gets a Soho Spin

A Full Table
A Full Table

Tables at Uncle Boons are not big. Expect to consolidate if you order more than a few items.

Lon Jai ($10)
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)
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.

Kanom Jiin Keow Wan Jaa ($21)
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)
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.

Roti ($3)
Roti ($3)

The roti are doughy and entirely skippable.

Interior
Interior

Comfortable, small, and well-appointed with random tchotchkes and paintings.

Yum Kai Hua Pli ($15)
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)
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.

Massaman Neuh ($22)
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)
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)
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.

Kao Pat Kuk Kapi ($24)
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)
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.

Mee Krob ($14)
Mee Krob ($14)
You've never had Mee Krob ($14) served with sweetbreads before? Who cares? The creamy-centered, crisply-coated nuggets tossed with a vibrant tamarind sauce work, and that's what matters.