Popping out of the 74th Street-Broadway station in Jackson Heights, chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok was ready to take us on a Thai market tour around the neighborhood. We traipsed up and down the aisles of a few markets specializing in Thai products as he pointed out the ones he likes (frozen coconut milk) and those he really doesn't care for (canned curry pastes; "don't ever buy them, please.").
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The Buffalo chicken wing is a thing of American beauty, and if you're looking for it in this city, we have you covered. But we get it: there's more than one way to sauce a bird. If it's fish sauce, toasted chilies, cumin, barbecue smoke, or fried garlic you crave in your next batch of wings, consider this handful of wing wonders.
You know a restaurant opening is an important one when, a few months later, you can't imagine New York without it. 2012, despite plenty of closures even before a catastrophic storm that crippled, closed, or delayed so many restaurants, was a fantastic year for eating in the city. Here are my favorites of the year: not just full-service restaurants, but the odd bakery, cocktail bar, and Mediterranean lunch joint thrown in for good measure.
Looking back on 2012, here are the bites and slurps I remember most fondly. From oysters to fried chickpeas to soba and uni, here we go...
Only after putting together my list did I realize that a full seven out of eight of the very best bites I had in New York this year were from East Asian restaurants. Not a single burger or pizza on the list!
This list isn't everything, but it is eighteen ways to answers to the question. From Flushing to Bay Ridge to the Lower East Side...and back to Flushing, here are the bites that made my year.
Andy Ricker's Pok Pok Wing on the Lower East Side reopened last Friday as a Pad Thai joint, serving the popular noodle dish along with a few other items.
Andy Ricker's Pok Pok has us blown away, and features ingredients we've never seen before, even in the city's best Thai restaurants. Take a brief tour of his pantry after the jump.
To say that New Yorkers have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Pok Pok—the Brooklyn branch of James Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker's Northern Thai phenomenon in Portland, OR—is like saying that children of the 70's were eagerly awaiting the return of Star Wars to the big screen. The difference is, of course, that in this case, Ricker delivered, and how.
Chef Andy Ricker's face scrunches when describing a chewy mushroom native to northern Thailand. His voice articulates meaty flavors versus bland, and his hands illustrate the way to most authentically execute a balanced Thai meal. We chatted with him about how Thai food became the thing, what authentic Thai food is, and what he wants us to learn from it.