But the mission for tonight was to check out the menu items. The current iteration has eight menu items and two off-menu specials being offered including a phonetically spelled tod kratiem prick Thai, or whole fried striped bass with jasmine rice and green mango salad.
After claiming the Broadway-facing noodle bar as our spot for the night, my dining partner and I decided to dig in. We started with the flavorful pork laarb, or khua haeng, with tamarind, mint, chili and toasted rice powder.
The green papaya salad, or som tam, with tomato, lime, dried shrimp, long bean and peanuts. A new personal favorite, I could have finished the bowl on my own (probably did).
The beef pho, or pho bo, of brisket, broth, fresh noodles, herbs and lime.
We ended the night with the tapioca- and peanut-topped grilled bananas, a playful dessert that was just sweet enough.
A few things to note:
- The opening staff is undergoing extensive training. I was impressed by how knowledgeable our server was.
- The pho will be unlike any you've had in the city. Accoutrements are tossed in, there's no separate plate of bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil. It's all in there.
- There's kombucha. We missed the boat on that one, but the gastropub is carrying a lychee-tamarind version for those wondering.
- The devil's in the details and the details are everywhere: the art, the wooden benches, the lighting.
- The recipes for all menu items are coming from Gilbert's travels to Asia in the late 2000's which he goes into in his book, "Kitchen Vagabond." I suggest giving the book a read if you're curious about Tuk Tuk in the least.
As the first of several restaurants slated to hit Broadway (SoBro Pizza at 915 Broadway is still in the works), Tuk Tuk is definitely a good sign of things to come. Soft opening dinners are still being held through Saturday so keep an eye on Tuk Tuk's Facebook or Twitter to secure your spot.