That sizzling sound you hear in Chinatown could be the sound of noodles frying or the buzz surrounding the new restaurant that’s frying those noodles.
Pok Pok Phat Thai, a noodle shop that’s the first of two restaurants in L.A. from nationally renowned chef Andy Ricker, quietly opened on Tuesday with a menu of casual one-plate dishes. Ricker, a Thai food pioneer with restaurants in Portland and New York City, is serving what’s more commonly known as pad thai: heaping portions of thin rice noodles cooked in rendered pork fat and topped with ground pork and/or fresh prawns. There’s also a vegetarian option, as well as plates of wide rice noodles and fried rice, all priced around $10.
The restaurant is at Far East Plaza, already home to Roy Choi’s Chego, and Ricker is clearly part of a new wave of chefs revitalizing Chinatown. In an interview in the December issue of Los Angeles magazine, Ricker said his friend Choi played a big part in bringing him to the area, which is also home to, for another month at least, Starry Kitchen. On Pok Pok Phat Thai’s opening day, eager diners Instagramming their lunch included chef Johnny Lee, a partner in Far East Plaza’s forthcoming Ramen Champ.
Ricker will open an outpost of his flagship Pok Pok restaurant a couple blocks away at a sprawling, two-story Mandarin Plaza space in the coming months. If it’s anything like his Pok Poks in Portland and New York, expect an expansive menu of Thai food, with chicken wings, spicy meat salads, and curries paired with carbonated drinking vinegars (they taste like tangy sodas) and booze.
Pok Pok Phat Thai, 727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, 213-628-3071