Why Come Here? Elevated Thai cooking with authentic flavors, lively atmosphere

Recommended for 2: 2 apps/2 entrees or 4 apps/1 entree

Uncle Boons, Thai, NYC, Nolita

Betel Leaf Wrap

Having spent five weeks in Thailand, I like to consider myself a Thai aficionado of sorts. So any time a new “authentic” Thai restaurant opens up in NYC, especially one manned by cooks from Per Se, I get pretty excited. And I am happy to report that Uncle Boons did not let me down.

The decor at Uncle Boons is meant to resemble a “typical Thai house in the ’60s and ’70s.” Apparently Thais used to cover their walls in a large collection of eclectic photos and their ceilings in a series of non-matching chandeliers. Who knew, but at least it makes for some nice conversation pieces. Combined with the brick walls and dim lighting, it’s a cool space you can easily bring a date or group of friends. They only take a limited number of reservations each night, but we only waited about an hour walking in on a Friday. Luckily there are many bars nearby and the mait’re d will send you a text when your table is ready.

The food is positioned as “Thai-style drinking food.” I’m not quite sure what to make of that as I’ve yet to find any Thai food that isn’t better with some booze. I supposed some sections of the menu do lend themselves more towards drinking such as “Char Grilled Goodies” and “small plates / Thai drinking food” (ok fine). There’s also a selection of large plates with more upscale Thai dishes, many of which you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere in the city. Overall there are a lot of intriguing dishes and I look forward to going back to try some more. Here are my thoughts on what we had:

Thai, Uncle Boons, NYC, Nolita, ginger sauce

Crispy Skate

Massaman Neuh (Beef Rib Massaman Curry) (3/4 stars) Spicy, flavorful and not too heavy on the coconut milk, this is one of the best curries I’ve had in New York. You’ll want to order a roti to sop up the extra.

Mieng Kum (Betel Leaf Wrap) (3/4 stars) Ginger, lime, dried shrimp, coconut and chilies on an edible leaf. So yeah, it hits pretty much every flavor you can imagine. Which makes it a great snack to start the meal.

Kanom Jiin Nahm Yaa (Crispy Skate w/wild ginger sauce) (2/4 stars) The skate and tangy ginger sauce make for a lighter dish that helps balance some of the spicier dishes on the menu.

Sai Krok Ampai (Pork Sour Sausage) (1/4 stars) I ordered this one after having a phenomenal sour pork sausage on the streets on Chiang Mai earlier this year. While some of the same flavors were there, I found the pork a little too fatty.

Uncle Boons
7 Spring Street (Elizabeth & Bowery)
New York, NY
Uncle Boons on Urbanspoon