Last month, Per Se vets Matt Danzer and Ann Redding opened Uncle Boons, a new Thai restaurant in the former location of Seven Spring in Nolita. The menu is filled with references to Redding's childhood in Thailand?she grew up in the Udon province?heavy on the grilled meats and curries and seafood. Also: much-discussed Singha beer slushies. The early reactions are overwhelmingly positive, with some quibbles about price and serving size (large plates are in the low 20s) while others go so far as to call it "Manhattan's Pok Pok." Here's what people are saying so far:
The Good News: An anonymous commenter weighs in in the Eater comments: "I ate there last night, the food was outstanding! Very cool vibe. This place is going to be nuts when word starts to get out. This years Mission/Pok Pok." [Eater Comments]
The Bad News: This Yelper couldn't disagree more: "The 3 appetizers, 2 mains that we ordered were not only overpriced and didn't taste that special, they were small portions. And that's coming from a chick. I do want to call out the roti - it was the worst roti I've ever had, thick & doughy is how I would describe it." [Yelp]
The Great News: Frank Prisinzano of Sauce, Frank, Lil' Frankies, etc, is a huge fan, posting this review to Instagram: "Uncle Boons in Nolita is open and already killing it. I had the best Thai meal of my life Monday night there and I can't wait to go back. You simply must go now. @mmdanzer and his lovely wife Ann along with @mayredding have designed an incredibly charming warm and comfortable space to get down and roll up your sleeves and eat. #letsdothis #gonow #thai #thailand #changmai #nolita #nyc" [Instagram]
The Expensive But Authentic News: Here's a Yelper who had a better time than that other one: "Came here for dinner and left impressed by their overall execution of food and service. From a price perspective for a Thai themed bar this was certainly not bar food prices. Their use of spices and textures in their dishes were sophisticated and wrapped in unpretentious albeit pricey concepts. ... Overall the service was great, detail oriented and well executed. If your budget allows its was a good place for authentically flavoured Thai food and a refreshing departure from the uninspiring thai food you find in the chinatown/ hells kitchen area." [Yelp]
The Mad Cool News: NYC Foodie files on Uncle Boons, calling the space "awesome" and the overall experience "mad cool": "Carmelized beef cheeks ($12) come with a Garlic-Peppercorn Whiskey Sauce and have a unique flavor. The cheeks are tender as can be, and you'll want a side of roti to sop up that interesting whiskey sauce. I'm not sure I loved the dish as much as my server, but it was definitely interesting and perfectly executed.
Uncle Boons' version of that Thai classic Khao Soi ($20) is quite delicious. Northern Style Golden Curry with Egg Noodles, Chicken Leg, Pickled Mustard Greens and Coconut Milk. There is a great balance between spicy and sweet in this dish. Great flavor too." [NYC Foodie]
The Awesome News: The Twitterati is pleased. Tweets one diner: "Awesome, delicious dinner, transporting vibe @uncleboons ... So fun!" Another adds: "The grilled octopus at new thai joint Uncle Boons is fantastic. Its Manhattan's Pok Pok. Go before everyone finds out about it." [Twitter]
The "Blown Away" News: From the Eater tipline: " I was completely blown away with the meal. From the smaller plates section: I ordered the mango salad and the beef cheeks. Both were really great. The mango salad had avocado and a crispy squid which they encouraged me to break up. Breaking it up was hard and a bit awkward, but then having small pieces throughout the thin perfectly diced mango was a great thing. The beef cheeks arrived and were SO DARK like sitting in a pool of black sauce but there was a good amount of cilantro to brighten it up and they were soft and amazing. I love to eat cheeks.
For the entree, we shared the skate, which came on a bed of noodles with pickled celery, something crispy, and other stuff. I mixed everything up and it was fun and delicious. The friend I went with doesn't really like 'creamy' foods so I couldn't get anything coconuty. I'll have to go back soon to try more things. It was also pretty quiet at 8:30 on a Thursday, which was nice. I like it more than Pok Pok. Also, I forgot about the Thai beer slushy thing. That is great and all bars/restaurants should have beer slushies in the warm months." [Eater Tipline]
The Foursquare News: Here's what the tipsters at Foursquare are saying: "Really good. Muay Thai chicken and the golden curry." "Get the Golden Curry and the a blowfish tails. Both excellent! Beer slushy was fun as well." "Recommend: chicken salad with banana blossoms (spicy), grilled blow fish,, chicken curry, coconut ice cream with cream. I LOVE this restaurant!" [Foursquare]
· All Coverage of Uncle Boons [~ENY~]