Earl Ninsom of Langbaan and Paadee, Matt Vicedomini of Matt’s BBQ, and Eric Nelson of the cocktail pop-up series Shipwreck, are opening their Thai barbecue restaurant and bar Saturday, February 2, the Oregonian reports. Eem, which means satiated in Thai, will start smoking in the former Ray space on N Williams, serving dishes like sliced brisket jungle curry, barbecue pork steak with nahm prik noom, and chopped barbecue fried rice.
Portland Monthly broke the news about the restaurant opening last year, saying that the restaurant will live in the world between traditional Thai and barbecue — Vicedomini handles smoked meats with Thai-ish flavors, and Ninsom throws in a handful of curry and rice dishes. Over the last few weeks, the restaurant has tested recipes at a series of pop-ups, including dishes like chopped barbecue fried rice with tamarind and sliced brisket jungle curry. Both of those dishes made the restaurant’s opening menu, as well as green curry sausage with papaya slaw, beet salad with sticky rice powder, and a lamb massaman.
Ninsom and Vicedomini run their own restaurants and cart, respectively, but the person on the front lines is talented in his own right: Colin Yoshimoto, the former chef behind Poke Mon, will handle daily operations at Eem. Langbaan pastry chef Maya Erickson will tackle dessert, including a banana pudding with incense-smoked coconut custard.
While the bar will sling playful blended drinks with serious tropical resort vibes, Nelson told Eater in an interview that the pop-up will remain its own thing. “I don’t think it’ll be the permanent home for Shipwreck, but a place for it to land for a while,” Nelson said. “We’re going to take over Mondays at the space, like what Deadshot did, and bring in different chefs and guest bartenders. But for right now it stays a pop up, and we might pop-up in different places.”
This isn’t the only Ninsom restaurant in the works: The chef and restaurant owner is also finishing up a second location of his wildly popular, casual fried chicken restaurant Hat Yai, which should open soon. Until then, Eem will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight, Wednesdays through Sundays.
Update, February 11, 2019, 4:53 p.m.
This story has been updated to include the opening date at Eem.
• Eem, new Thai barbecue restaurant from Portland supergroup, opens Saturday [EPDX]
• Owners of Langbaan, Matt’s BBQ & Shipwreck to Open ‘Thai Barbecue Cocktail Bar’ [PoMo]
• Langbaan [Official]
• Matt’s BBQ [Official]
• Shipwreck [Official]
• Celebrity Chef Jenn Louis’s Restaurant Ray Has Closed [EPDX]
• All Previous Langbaan Coverage [EPDX]
• All Previous Matt’s BBQ Coverage [EPDX]