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The Early Word on Portland Import Pok Pok Wing

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Andy Ricker, the man behind Portland's James Beard Award winning restaurant Pok Pok, opened its highly anticipated New York branch Pok Pok Wing on the Lower East Side just last week. Ricker is showcasing his wing skills at his new Thai street food restaurant, in the former Baohaus location, on Rivington. Apparently, the chef has been cooking on electric stoves because the the small spot doesn't yet have gas! Word on the street, this has not affected the quality wings he is churning out. Here is what people are saying:

The Mostly Good News: An Eater reader wrote a Yelp review about the addictive wings at this spot: "I came just for the wings after reading about the opening on eater. I found them meaty and crisp and the small amount of cucumbers, greens and pickled carrots were a perfect palet cleanser. My only complaint was that the wings were not properly sauced all over. The first bite was into dry crisp meat. For 13 dollars I want a wing covered in sweet sticky fish sauce. Overall the wings are addictive and perhaps the best in the city for the price." [Yelp]

The Mouth Watering Great News: Another Yelper writes, "Whole chicken wings marinated in fish sauce, garlic & sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce & garlic. These Thai-style wings are crazy good. And if you're into Asian wings, I'd say they're much better than Korean-style wings from Bon Chon or Mono + Mono. Each serving comes w/ six full wings, which is very filling. I also recommend a side of the coconut rice." [Yelp]

The Great News: 191orchard blogs about how it is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood: "James Beard chef, Andy Ricker, has joined the LES with his new NYC outpost, Pok Pok Wing. After giving it a try tonight, we are more than happy to welcome the Portland based master of thai cuisine to the neighborhood. Ike's infamous caramelized wings are smothered in fish sauce, garlic, and chili--an absolute must. A side of papaya salad creates the perfect balance, super fresh and full of heat. And to top it all off, an upgraded thai iced coffee featuring New York City's own Stumptown cold brew. Open till 2am on the weekends, I'm sure we'll be revisiting Pok Pok very soon!" [199orchard]

The Bad News: A Gothamist commenter wrote in saying this place is way over-hyped. "If Pok Pok is indeed the object of "near deafening" food world buzz, it is being highly over-rated. I went and found it extremely mediocre. Northern Thai street food turned pretentious, made by white yuppies, for white yuppies. I would much rather go to Queens for some of our own truly great Thai food." [Gothamist]

The Mostly But Not Entirely Good News: From All That Shnazz: "Tammy and I had the wings which came in a batch of five huge pieces with sliced carrots, cucumber, and jicama, and some leafy thing. The wings tasted almost like Bonchon chicken minus the thick and crunchy coating. The first two pieces were fantastic, maybe even orgasmic had I eaten it with steamed rice, but then the hype just died in my mouth after. I washed it down with an Apple flavoured drinking vinegar that tasted more like those sampaloc balls rolled in sugar and wrapped in yellow cellophane. It brought back fond memories of going to the Madrigal Center in Alabang to buy those sampaloc balls and hanging out in the Blessed Sacrament because it was air conditioned. Lisa had the Papaya Pok Pok which, according to the old lady seated next to me on the counter, was really good." [ATS]

The Sickening News: One girl found the wings to be good but a little too much. "Wings are good but sickening after awhile, definitely need to share between 2 as you get 6 wings. Get your partner to order the papaya salad as it balances the sweet & salty from the wings. The papaya salad was a bit too sour for my liking but it's good as a palate cleanser. The shredded pork with coconut rice was good but the best thing there is the tamarind soda. Was so refreshing & would take that over coke any day. Will have to try all the other flavors next time. They also have honey, apple & pomegranate." [Yelp]

The Wing News: The consensus on foursquare is that the wings are amazing. "Best fried chicken wings!" [foursquare]
—Sarah Rose
[Photo credit]

Pok Pok Wing

137 Rivington St., New York, NY

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