At any given moment, Thai food savant Andy Ricker has more things going on than a bowl of khao soi curry noodles. Yesterday, I caught up Ricker on his way to New York to juggle duties at his hit eateries Pok Pok NY and Phat Thai and wrestle the permit gods hovering over the Brooklyn spin-off of the Whiskey Soda Lounge, his iconic “Asian drinking food” bar on SE Division.
Here’s the current low-down from the man who apparently never sleeps:
1) In just two weeks, Ricker hopes to open Sen Yai, his highly anticipated Thai noodle shop at 3384 SE Division. As Eat Beat first reported in February, Sen Yai’s dozen-plus noodle repertoire—soups to dry to stir-fried—will crack open what Ricker calls “a new horizon of possibilities, noodles not typically found in Thai restaurants in America." Meanwhile, the eatery will also tap Ricker’s passion for Thai breakfast rituals. Get ready for patanko, unsweetened "crullers" dunked in coffee or jok (porridge).
2) Sen Yai (“Big Noodle”) will add another anchor to a Division Street food vortex that includes Duane Sorenson’s Ava Gene’s and the June-opening Roman Candle Bakery across the street, Lauretta Jean’s pie shop steps away, and a new branch of ice cream phenom Salt and Straw, opening July 1. Sen Yai will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 am to 10 pm, daily.
3) Starting next Monday, say goodbye to Pok Pok’s lunch menu. The new plan: One seamless menu only, 11:30 am to 10 pm. Most lunch-only favorites will migrate to Sen Yai's lunch list, from crab fried rice to phat si ew noodles. Just two Pok Pok lunch legends will remain at the mothership as part of the all-day menu: khao soi (curry noodle soup) and khao man som tam (coconut rice with sweet shredded pork and papaya salad). This change to "all dishes, all the time" service is meant to address diner frustrations—for us and for Pok Pok. Nothing strikes fear and anger in the heart of a diner being denied a sweet porky taste of khao man som tam when darkness falls.
3) Ricker is also deep in galley proofs for the Pok Pok cookbook, scheduled to drop on October 29 from Ten Speed Press. Expect this to be one of fall’s major cookbooks. Not that Ricker will have time to celebrate.