“I’ve been thinking about Northwest Portland for a long time,” says Andy Ricker, the iconic chef behind Portland’s Pok Pok and Whiskey Soda Lounge. Ricker opened the original Pok Pok on SE Division in 2005, and as Eater first reported, the new Pok Pok NW will be his first on Portland’s Westside.
Pok Pok NW is still gearing up to open for real, but today, it released a number of preview reservations, for April 14 and 15, on Instagram. They quickly sold out, and Ricker tells Eater Pok Pok NW could open as soon as Monday, April 17.
In explaining the jump across the river, Ricker says, “I’ve lived in Portland since 1990, and we live in a city where people often stick to our neighborhoods. I’ve been doing the commute from the Eastside to the Westside everyday of late, and yesterday, it took me almost an hour—never mind that drive at prime dinner hour.” The chef remembers it taking 10 to 15 minutes back in the ’90s, so Pok Pok’s new location could put it within reach of new customers.
Located at 1639 NW Marshall St., Pok Pok NW has moved into the old Bent Brick venue, and it seats 50 indoors, with another 24 on the patio when things warm up. Unlike the two Eastside Pok Poks, Pok Pok NW has a waiting area for hanging out with drinks before dinner.
Ricker says the menu will feature all the heavy hitters from Pok Pok SE Division: those wings, pork collar, and steak and mushroom salads. There’s an entirely new appetizers section, with dishes a little more “fiddly and fun,” like a dish of quail rubbed with a cousin to black prickly ash and fried in pork fat. There’s also Lon Neam, “a type of sophisticated Central Thai relish, for lack of a better word.”
A specials board, with a focus on fish, is another debut. One dish in the works is deep-fried branzino, served in curry in a boat-shaped bowl and topped with napa cabbage, long beans, and other vegetables.
As the photos in the gallery above show, Pok Pok NW retains the classic Pok Pok surfer-in-Thailand vibe, with lanterns, bamboo stenciled on the walls, and thatch on the patio. “When we went into the space, it was very red and very Portland-early-2000s industrial,” says Ricker. The space starts out full of light and gets more cave-like farther in. There’s also a bar with around 10 seats.
When Pok Pok NW opens for real, it’ll serve dinner nightly, starting at 5 p.m., with lunch on the weekends, from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. It’ll also offer reservations through Reserve—and not only for large parties, says Ricker. When the restaurant confirms its opening date, find it here on Eater PDX.