Jump to content


Photo

Pok Pok


  • Please log in to reply
620 replies to this topic

#121 tejon

tejon
  • Moderator
  • 685 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Milwaukie, OR

Posted 17 July 2006 - 10:01 PM

Mmmmm....the pickled mustard greens are incredible, aren't they? I kept stealing some from the husband when he wasn't looking :w00t: .
- Kathy

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

#122 Amanda

Amanda
  • Moderator
  • 7,626 posts
  • Location:NE Portland
  • Interests:Eating, cooking, kayaking, canoeing, letterboxing

Posted 18 July 2006 - 06:18 AM

Those pickled veggies really "make" it I think. I like the crunchy noodles, too. Pok Pok is always consistently wonderful!

Best regards,

Amanda

#123 debdeb

debdeb
  • Members
  • 15 posts

Posted 20 July 2006 - 06:46 AM

This is my first post!
I ate at Pok Pok yesterday afternoon. It was wonderful! I had a hard time deciding what to select. All the dishes and their glowing reviews from this board were rolling around in my head. I played it safe and ordered half of the game hen and white corn on the cob (grillled with "white" soy sauce). The corn was on the specials board. I also had some thai ice tea.
The game hen was excellent. I used my fingers to eat it. The plasticware was much too flimsy. The corn was good too. Is corn on the cob served in Thailand? That doesn't matter, it was nice to eat and very enjoyable.
I am a student on a limited budget so this was definitely a splurge for me. But I am going back there today!
(The prices at Pok Pok are very reasonable, any expedeniture is splurge for me!)

#124 debdeb

debdeb
  • Members
  • 15 posts

Posted 21 July 2006 - 11:50 AM

Hey my second post.

I had the Khao Soi Kai which was wonderful. I actually don't mind eating soup on a hot day!
One thing that I noticed is that the Yam Kai Yaang is off the menu! Apparently it is hard to find consistently good green mangoes...

I can hardly wait until the restaurant opens up!

Deb

#125 Jill-O

Jill-O
  • Moderator
  • 7,144 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eastside, on the cusp between N and S

Posted 21 July 2006 - 11:59 AM

Welcome aboard debdeb!
Never give up! Never surrender!

#126 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 21 July 2006 - 04:19 PM

Indeed, welcome.

I actually don't mind eating soup on a hot day!


Well, Thai people sure don't seem to mind it. Soup has got to be the most popular street food in Thailand.

Mangoes are in season right now (20 cents each at Grande, got to be a loss for them) so that may be part of it. They're all ripe. Also, though, my experience has been that the green mangoes are not especially green or crazily expensive in comparison to the papayas.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#127 pokpok

pokpok
  • Members
  • 49 posts

Posted 23 July 2006 - 03:49 PM

"Is corn on the cob served in Thailand?"

yes, grilled with soy sauce is how i've seen it. it is more commonly found in desserts though.
i've had corn on the cob in china, also kernels stirfried with green chilies and pinenuts (guangzhou).


yeah, all the green mangoes are getting too ripe, so the produce company stops buying them here. saw some at fubonn today but they were all soft which means they are yellow and half ripe inside. the yam kai yaang will be a seasonal dish from now on. i had a very difficult time keeping it on the menu up until now anyway because of the inconsistent supply. asian produce is a nightmare to procure at times, and very volatile in pricing. fr'instance: lemongrass is selling for $110-$130 a case right now!!!-long story that has to do with monks, a cornered market, and opportunistic middle men. i spend a good amount of time each week foraging just to keep the walk-in stocked.

the ataulfo mangoes are out of season now, and the big mexican varieties, which aren't nearly as good, are in hence the removal of mango sticky rice from the specials menu. we'll be rocking a coconut-jackfruit ice cream sandwich with sticky rice, toasted coconut and peanuts with evap milk for the whole of next week. yum! just like the street carts in thailand.

#128 Jill-O

Jill-O
  • Moderator
  • 7,144 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eastside, on the cusp between N and S

Posted 27 July 2006 - 06:47 AM

In addition to the fabulous bird and the awesome coconut rice (make sure to order it with the fried shallots), I tried the corn on the cob and a a rib special last night.

The corn was really good, very sweet and corn-y tasting, but I can't help thinking that $2/ear is a bit steep. I was also a bit disappointed that it was billed as grilled, yet came in foil (which has been put on a grill)...I really wanted some carmelization/grill marks on the corn itself.

The ribs were also very tasty. They were described as "tiny pork ribs." Well, they were regular sized ribs cut into bite-sized pieces..and precious few of them to the order for $7.95. I estimate that there were about 2 cut-up ribs in the order. In my book, $8 for 2 ribs is a bit outrageous, even if they are delicious.
Never give up! Never surrender!

#129 Flynn

Flynn
  • Secondary Admin
  • 3,681 posts
  • Location:SW Portland

Posted 27 July 2006 - 07:16 AM

Jill-O, since you and I apparently are living closely parallel lives (well, cuisine-wise anyway), I was at Pok Pok last night too! Gotta get my fix before they close up shop.

The three of us did the corn special, an order of ribs, a full bird, khao soi, coconut rice, two thai iced teas and a guava juice. Total price: $32, and I have plenty of food for lunch today. I felt a lot better about this until you broke the price down by item.. :blush:

The ribs had great flavor, even if they were a bit chewy. But that dipping sauce they came with, the soy based one? Dynamite.

#130 Jill-O

Jill-O
  • Moderator
  • 7,144 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eastside, on the cusp between N and S

Posted 27 July 2006 - 07:21 AM

So much like dynamite, I couldn't eat it at all. Can't do the chile heat, my friend, capsaicin is the enemy.

Yep, I saw the date and said to Calabrese that we had to get our fix in! ;o)

Our meal (taken to go across the river to Casa Di Calabrese) was $20 for the bird, rice, corn and ribs. Not bad considering the quality and deliciousness, but I still think $2 for an ear of corn and $8 for what is essentially two ribs is absurd.
Never give up! Never surrender!

#131 pokpok

pokpok
  • Members
  • 49 posts

Posted 27 July 2006 - 11:42 AM

So much like dynamite, I couldn't eat it at all. Can't do the chile heat, my friend, capsaicin is the enemy.

Yep, I saw the date and said to Calabrese that we had to get our fix in! ;o)

Our meal (taken to go across the river to Casa Di Calabrese) was $20 for the bird, rice, corn and ribs. Not bad considering the quality and deliciousness, but I still think $2 for an ear of corn and $8 for what is essentially two ribs is absurd.

hi jill-o, sorry you felt the pricing was steep, but perhaps you should take into account that pork spare ribs cost $3/# wholesale for Carlton Farms pork; each portion is 1 # or more uncooked (they are custom square cut Chinese-style the whole length of the rack, btw). then take into account the cost of the marinade, the cost of the charcoal to grill/smoke it for 4 hours, and then the cost of labor to prepare (everything we do here is prepared from ground up), cook and produce the dish, the dipping sauces, the cost of the to-go containers (and/or the cost of washing dishes), plus percentage of overhead (rent, insurance, utilities, fuel surcharges, repairs etc, etc., ad nauseum) and pretty soon...well you can see where i am going here. so boiled down, my food cost alone on the ribs is around 38%. industry standard, or what most chefs try for is around 30-33% food cost or less if possible. add the fixed costs and the profit margin isn't much of a margin. if i charge any less than $7.95, i might as well not have it on the menu at all. i could use hormone pumped pork, sugar instead of honey, no whisky, none of the spices i shipped back from Thailand, delete one of the dipping sauces, or other cost-cutting tactics and get the food cost down a few percentage points and the menu price down $.50 or buck, but then you have a different product---not as good.

restaurant economics are a lot more complicated than you might think. sometimes a dish that seems outlandishly expensive may barely be making a profit. others that seem like a great deal to the customer are actually very profitable and in place to make up for something else on the menu that is actually LOSING money. i agree that some restaurants have prices that seem outrageous, generally ones that are counting the look of the space they occupy as an ingredient in the dish, but can guarantee you that pok pok is not one of them.

so sorry for the restaurant economics 101, but hope it is helpful. :).

#132 Flynn

Flynn
  • Secondary Admin
  • 3,681 posts
  • Location:SW Portland

Posted 27 July 2006 - 12:16 PM

Not that you need unsolicited marketing advice, but you might want to make sure people know you are using premium quality meats that are custom-cut and imported spices in dishes like the ribs. Maybe when you open up again and have menus?

I'll only speak for myself, but I have no problem making the mental adjustment to reasonable price hikes if I know I'm getting ingredients that cost the restaurant owner more...I sure don't mind you making that 5-8% back.

#133 tejon

tejon
  • Moderator
  • 685 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Milwaukie, OR

Posted 27 July 2006 - 12:37 PM

I went last night as well. If you happened to see a short blonde with a big black boot, that was me :). We had satay, roasted bird (yum!), some of the corn (which the husband and I greatly enjoyed), and later an ice cream sandwich to share. I'll agree that the pricing is not especially cheap, but I expect Thai food to cost more in general. I also think it's a good idea to make it clear to diners that the ingredients are such high quality - it definitely offsets any pause taken over pricing, especially when everything is so delicious to start with.
- Kathy

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

#134 Jill-O

Jill-O
  • Moderator
  • 7,144 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eastside, on the cusp between N and S

Posted 27 July 2006 - 01:13 PM

Andy, I do understand all of that, but the bottom line is, as delicious as the ribs are, and as high quality as the ingredients are, I wouldn't pay $7.95 to have them again. Sorry. And as delicious as the corn was, I won't be paying $2 an ear for another one.

Because even if all of that is true (and I certainly do believe it is, I am not naive and you are not a liar), what is also true is that you can't charge more for something than the market will bear.

I hope for you that lots of others disagree and order lots of ribs, really I do, but I also hope that they don't feel as I did after I got home and opened the box and saw maybe 10 one inch pieces of rib.

Don't worry too much, Andy, all it means is that I'll be gettting the satay with the bird and a double order of coconut rice as I usually do when I get my orders to go...or maybe we will find new favorites on the expanded menu when you open the house. :)
Never give up! Never surrender!

#135 Amanda

Amanda
  • Moderator
  • 7,626 posts
  • Location:NE Portland
  • Interests:Eating, cooking, kayaking, canoeing, letterboxing

Posted 27 July 2006 - 01:32 PM

Andy --

It might be a good idea to emphasize the quality of the ingredients. Some folks may have the idea that you have lower overhead because the shack is small, diners eat outside and parking's not provided. There is the matter of perception to consider.

This may be a moot point anyway. You're expanding to real restaurant proportions in the future and whatever might be said about the portions and the price...the food is outstanding.

I don't think you're going to lose any customers, really, over a few dinky pieces of overpriced ribs. Like Jill-O said, she'll be coming back for what she always previously loved. She just won't order that particular menu item again. If it is cost-prohibitive to you and customers don't see the value of the ribs it won't take long to get a clue and yank them anyway.

I look forward to the new restaurant! I'm not sure we'll be able to get over there before you shut-down for your remodel/vacation. Have a successful overhaul and an excellent journey and we'll see you and your fine crew when you return.

Best regards,

Amanda

#136 pokpok

pokpok
  • Members
  • 49 posts

Posted 27 July 2006 - 03:26 PM

Andy --

It might be a good idea to emphasize the quality of the ingredients. Some folks may have the idea that you have lower overhead because the shack is small, diners eat outside and parking's not provided. There is the matter of perception to consider.

This may be a moot point anyway. You're expanding to real restaurant proportions in the future and whatever might be said about the portions and the price...the food is outstanding.

I don't think you're going to lose any customers, really, over a few dinky pieces of overpriced ribs. Like Jill-O said, she'll be coming back for what she always previously loved. She just won't order that particular menu item again. If it is cost-prohibitive to you and customers don't see the value of the ribs it won't take long to get a clue and yank them anyway.

I look forward to the new restaurant! I'm not sure we'll be able to get over there before you shut-down for your remodel/vacation. Have a successful overhaul and an excellent journey and we'll see you and your fine crew when you return.

Best regards,



Amanda


thanks for all of your replies. :) we sell out of the ribs every day with many folks coming specifically to get them (one guy called yesterday and reserved 2 orders and ate them both hisself) so i am not worried at all about losing customers over the ribs and they will probably become a permanant fixture on the menu. we're just going to keep on doing what we do. thanks, and peace out.

#137 Calabrese

Calabrese

    Desaparecido

  • Banned
  • 5,970 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gone

Posted 27 July 2006 - 06:03 PM

Andy, the ribs were quite tasty, but there was barely any meat on them. In fact, some of them had almost nothing. I think that's where part of the problem is. See I'd have a hard time believing there was anywhere near a pound of meat precooked on them. And I do love to toss pork on my grill. Admittedly, I'm fond of spareribs but I do know how much cooks away. A little more meat and I'd be all for having them again.

#138 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 27 July 2006 - 07:42 PM

This was my last chance to get Pok Pok so I stopped there on the way home today. I almost skipped the ribs because of the reports here. I'm glad I didn't.

I got three things, a whole bird (kai yaang) and the papaya salad with coconut rice and pork (khao man som tam). I've talked about those before. Then the ribs. I got the other two to go and the ribs to eat right away so that I could take a picture (below).

I thought they were fantastic. One of my favorite things there. I was instantly transported to the streets of Thailand. Love the complex marinade/glaze -- salty, tangy, sweet. And both of the spicy sauces, one sweet, one salty, are terrific and work perfectly. Is it a big portion? No. But I felt it was fair. If you want a lot of ribs, you can get the Guinness ribs at Malay Satay Hut, but I thought they were candy sweet and unbalanced and mostly chewy. These ribs had a balanced flavor, a nice tender, juicy meat, with a nice char. You can see the size of the portion for yourself and judge, but I loved the flavor of these and would say they were the best ribs I've had in town. Unless he adds Thai-style fried chicken, it'll be between these and the khao man som tam for me in the future.

btw, they ran out at 7pm. There were only a couple orders after mine.

Posted Image

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#139 mczlaw

mczlaw
  • Members
  • 571 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 July 2006 - 09:11 PM

I only eat out about 10 or 12 times a week, but IMO, $7.95 is a fair price for the Pok Pok ribs (which I tried for lunch on Tuesday and loved). $2 for the ear of corn is fine too. Andy's discussion of restaurant economics is right on the money (so to speak). Of course you can get the raw materials and do stuff at home for a helluvalot cheaper. But when I go out, I anticipate paying for a helluvalot more than the raw products and Pok Pok delivers at the top end. Quality is worth a premium. So is convenience. J-O & C, do what you want, of course, but I'd suggest your thrift is misplaced in this instance.

Extramsg: you too are entitled to your opinion, but the Malay Guiness ribs are another rare and wonderful delight (and they arrive in a huge portion for $12). That sweetness--it comes from the same barley malt syrup I use in my bagels--is far more complex than "candy" and is well-balanced with stout bitterness. I love the damn things. Comparing them to the Pok Pok ribs, however, is like comparing. . .Cabot Cloth-wrapped Cheddar and Rollingstone Brandywine chevre :w00t: .

--mcz



#140 Amanda

Amanda
  • Moderator
  • 7,626 posts
  • Location:NE Portland
  • Interests:Eating, cooking, kayaking, canoeing, letterboxing

Posted 28 July 2006 - 05:38 AM

The ribs look pretty good to me!

Best regards,

Amanda