The Lower East Side is amazing for its never-ending plethora of cheap, tasty dishes. When we discovered Pok Pok Phat Thai over the weekend, we couldn’t keep this to ourselves. We just had to share the goodness! Located on 137 Rivington St, this tiny outlet offers authentic Thai food, with marble counters protruding from the walls to serve as tables. Photos of Thai artists from decades ago consumed the walls, dating the restaurant back to an older period. It was a clean, cozy setting, nothing too overwhelming.
Pad thai is one of Thailand’s national dishes. It is also one of Pok Pok’s best-sellers. It would be a pity to go all the way to one of the city’s favorite pad thai spots and not try the signature dish. That would be like jetsetting to Asia and settling on McDonald’s. The pad thai arrived in all its steaming glory, garnished with chives, eggs, dried shrimps, peanuts, bean sprouts, chili powder and lime halves on a layer of banana leaf. Asian dishes are usually colorful, and the pad thai did not lack in visual appeal.
The thin rice noodles were stir-fried in reduced pork fat, tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar for an authentic flavor that left us longing for more. The noodles were a tad salty, so we added a dash of sugar from the little tray of condiments. The sugar neutralized the saltiness and created the perfect taste, a nice balance between sweet and salty.
While there are many Thai restaurants in New York that serve pad thai, it's rare to discover one that presents really, really good pad thai that is potent in flavor. Pok Pok Phat Thai delivers daily from 5-10pm, but we'd recommend dining in to savor the entire experience.