Uncle Boons – NoLita
Can’t afford a trip to Thailand? No problem. Head along to this whimsical and transporting den-brought to you stateside by husband-wife duo Matt Danzer and Ann Redding-and get sipping on Singha slushies among a lively crowd of downtowners. Uncle Boons fills the need for compelling Thai food in the area bounding Nolita, the Lower East Side and Soho.
The chef/owners of Uncle Boons are a husband and wife team, Matt Danzer and Ann Redding, who used to work at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, diversify the repertoire. The couple bailed on the fine dining life to open up their own joint, applying techniques they’ve learned over the years to their families’ old recipe books. The whole idea here is to serve Thai-style drinking food, which apparently means the kitchen sink – this menu is stacked with all kinds of amazing things.
Ms. Redding was born in northeastern Thailand, but before opening Uncle Boons she and Mr. Danzer roamed the country, and their cooking does, too.
The food is spicy but it won’t blow your head off, the menu devised by Matt Danzer and Ann Redding.
Recommended dishes include rotisserie chicken, charcoal-grilled baby octopus, crab fried rice with egg, cilantro and lime and golden curry with egg noodles, chicken leg, pickled mustard greens and coconut milk.
On a hot day it’s fun to get a beer slushy dispensed from a rotating barrel that works along the same lines as an ice cream machine.
What to Drink at Uncle Boons
Briefly, beer and cocktails are the way to go here.
- Spicy Thai Ale: Produced especially for Uncle Boons by Barrier Brewing in Oceanside, Long Island. It’s made with Thai bird chile, kaffir, and coriander, giving the beer a spicy, aromatic punch. Pair it with milder dishes, like the stellar khao soi noodles, for an extra bit of oomph.
- Beer Slushy: What you order to quell the serious heat of the chicken salad or lamb laab. An electric, rotating cooling machine imparts Thai beer with the silky texture of a perfectly blended frozen margarita. Drink with a plastic straw.
- Kaffir Daiquiri: A shaken, perfume-y blend of rum, lime, sugar, and kaffir. Pairs well with rich dishes that don’t contain too much acid, like green curry snails.
- Cremant de Loire: If you don’t like to get your bubbles from beer, this fresh, fizzy wine will take care of business. Those looking for something more elegant will find that Champagne commands a high price here, with full bottles starting at (Vilmart & Cie).
- Mekhong Manhattan: A mix of Mekhong (a rum-like, 70 proof Thai spirit), orange curacao, dry and sweet vermouths, and bitters. The strength of the dark, malty, complex cocktail doesn’t necessarily pair with the spicy food, but it helps quell the pain of overindulgence.
- Ya Dong shots: “Will give you stamina and make you strong like water buffalo,” the menu reads. The tasty mixture of rum, honey, and herbs might also make your vision blurry, which is okay.
Uncle Boons encourage people to visit without a reservation as they keep most of their tables available for walk in guests.
For parties larger than seven guests and for special events please email [email protected]