And now, behold the fourth local outpost of Andy Ricker's Pok Pok empire. After months of stewing and a concept shift away from an original curry house idea, Ricker's eagerly anticipated noodle house Sen Yai is set to debut late next week in the SE Division space that once housed Kappaya. As previously reported, the full-service restaurant will serve breakfast through dinner, focusing on more than a dozen noodle varieties, from stir-fry to soup.
The space features two distinct dining rooms (the larger one housing 34 seats, the smaller 14) adorned with Ricker's finds from Thailand. Framed posters in the dining room feature vintage-ish images found at Bangkok's Talat Fai Chai, a night market where shoppers shine flashlights upon wares on the street. The side dining room — which Ricker envisions as a breakfast nook of sorts, with a television playing CNN in the mornings — features several Northern Thai flags emblematic of the path to nirvana; Ricker notes they're often hung as a sign of victory. Diners sit under a sign for a boxing studio in Northern Thailand owned "by one of my oldest friends in Thailand," Ricker says. The large outdoor patio houses an additional 56 guests at six- and eight-top tables.
Sen Yai plans to open at 8a.m. daily, offering a take on Thai breakfasts. Expect morning dishes like jok and khao tam (rice soup) in addition to options like sen lek maan kai (which Ricker describes as a basic noodle soup), poached eggs, and pantanko, Thai cruellers served with an optional dipping sauce.
For lunch and dinner, noodles are the main focus: the front dining room houses a soup noodle station inspired by Thai noodle vendors, with containers for different meat and a large pot — with a built in separator between stock and water — for cooking soup noodles. As previously reported, many lunch favorites from the neighboring Pok Pok will make the permanent move onto Sen Yai's menu.
Sen Yai tentatively plans an opening for late next week. Stay tuned.
· Pok Pok [Official site]
· All Previous Sen Yai Coverage [Eater PDX]