Whiskey Soda Lounge and Pok Pok (Portland)

As much as I liked Pok Pok last year, it disappointed me this year. Perhaps my expectations were too high?

You can almost always expect a wait if you’re headed to Pok Pok for dinner, so we built that into our plan as a chance to check out the new Whiskey Soda Lounge location across the street. I liked the vibe of this place, and the street food-like menu. We got our beloved wings here, and I also enjoyed the fresh tamarind pods – though I wish my spicy bloody mary had delivered more on the promised heat.

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Makham Waan (fresh tamarind pods with a chile salt and sugar dip) and the Pok Pok Bloody Mary (with Thai chilies and aromatics pounded in a mortar and pestle)

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An open tamarind pod

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Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings – always a winner!

I’m not sure what it was about Pok Pok this time around. The food was a bit flat, though still better than so many other Thai restaurants in both Portland and Seattle. Hopefully it was just an off-night.

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Yam Samun Phrai (Thai herbal salad with ginger, carrot, parsnip, betel leaf, basil, lime leaf, lemongrass, sawtooth, fried shallots, cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, dry shrimp, ground pork and Thai chilies in a coconut milk dressing)

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Hoi Thawt (crispy broken crepe with steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, eggs, garlic chives and bean sprouts served with Shark Sri Racha sauce)

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Kaeng Hung Leh (classic Northern Thai sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry with ginger, palm sugar, tamarind, turmeric, Burmese curry powder and pickled garlic)

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Cha Ca La Vong (catfish marinated in turmeric and sour sticky rice, fried in turmeric oil with scallions and dill, served on rice vermicelli with peanuts, mint and mam nem)

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2 Responses to “Whiskey Soda Lounge and Pok Pok (Portland)”

  1. Steve
    August 1, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Please name a NW thai restaurant that comes even close to Pok Pok on an off night.

  2. admin
    August 1, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    I’ve had better experiences at Noodle Boat in Issaquah than I did this particular night at Pok Pok. Don’t get me wrong: I think Pok Pok is great, and as you hopefully read in my linked post, it was one of my top three meals during a previous feeding frenzy in Portland.

    I’ll repeat: I hope this was just an off-night at Pok Pok. With waits that the restaurant commands, a disappointing meal is that much more devastating.

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