Uncle Boons

7 Spring St. New York, NY 10012 (646) 370-6650 uncleboons.com

Mieng Kung, betel leaf wrap with ginger, lime, toasted coconut, dried shrimp, chilies and peanuts at Uncle Boons, a newly opened Thai restaurant and bar in SoHo.â€(R)CREDIT: Agaton Strom for The Wall Street Journalâ€(R)SLUG: HH.UncleBoons Published Credit: Agaton Strom for The Wall Street Journal

Having waited a stupid amount of time to get into the extraordinarily disappointing Spotted Pig, you’d think I’d’ve learned my lesson with these overrated, no-reservation-taking, wastes of time. But apparently not, because one again I found myself standing there like a puppy dog, panting before the hostess in the hopes of getting a table. But had I been more self aware, perhaps I would’ve noticed déjà vu staring me in the face.

Nonetheless, my stubbornness persevered and on we marched to the back room through a tiki-style décor that did little to put a smile on my face, only to then begin a meal that would have a lot of splainin’ to do (to be read like Desi Arnaz).

Out of the gate, the gripes began with the Frozen Basil Vodka which was very good, but I think they majorly skimped on the portion, serving it in a half-filled glass. Never seen that before and I’m guessing it was because they ran out of the cocktail by 8pm on a Friday night. Something else I’d never seen before and I’m not sure which is the more inexcusable part of the story. To run out of booze by 8pm on a Friday night? Or to charge full price for a half-full glass of it?!

But at least it tasted good, the other drink our server recommended, the Bolan, was so god awful that we sent it back after one sip, opting for the Baa Baa Bo Bo which was a nice, spicy-sweet twist on a margarita.

Getting back to our server, however, she was so miserable that she ruined the experience for us (not that the food wouldn’t have done if for her), giving not one recommendation and lying through her blatantly apathetic teeth, saying everything is amazing. It’s not. Far from it. So, between her piss pour attitude and trying to charge us for that drink that she pawned off on us when they ran out of the one we liked, Uncle Boons was starting to look like that creepy uncle we all try to avoid at obligatory family outings.

Toxic service aside, now for the over-hyped menu, starting with the spicy chicken, which while spicy, was also just okay- oh, and it’s completely mislabeled as a small plate. Unless you’re Andre the Giant.

The mango salad is slightly better, but nothing worthy of the wait we endured and neither is the Thai blood sausage, for that matter, tasting a slight notch above Alpo.

And while I would love nothing more than to go on and on shitting all over this place, my integrity is going to get the better of me as I must give props where props are do, even though it pains me to do so.

The first prop going to the dorade. It is so phenomenal that it just might be the best whole fish I’ve ever had. Charcoal roasted and served with charred leeks and a Nam Prik dipping sauce that is pinch-yourself ah-maze-ing!

And believe it or not, we also stayed for dessert, regardless of the abysmal hit ratio thus far, primarily out of spite for having made us wait so long for the table, so I suppose we felt like holding onto the damn thing as long as we could. A philosophy that paid its dividends quite quickly in the form of a rich, creamy, texture-filled coconut ice cream, topped with fresh-made whipped cream, more coconut shavings on top, as well charred nuts, which kinda steal the show.

But even with the strong ending, Uncle Boons was climbing out of a hole so deep it came out the other side of the world in Thailand.

2 teeth

Hanjan

36 W 26th St. New York, NY 10010 • (212) 206-7226hanjan26.com

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This is Korean for the other half. The half that can’t be bothered with the manual labor of having to BBQ their food themselves. The half that likes a little ambiance and inventiveness. The half that doesn’t want a hybrid Mexican version of Korean sold off a truck. In other words, my half.

Sure there’s a time and a place for that kind of Korean, but it’s nice to see a cuisine extend itself into a more refined experience. Not that Hanjan is fancy by any stretch, but compared to the typical Korean haunts in the 30’s, it’s Per Se.

To start, I went with the spicy margarita because, as we know, I loves me a spicy cocktail. And while it’s certainly not bad, it’s nothing special either. Basically just a regular margarita dipped in chili powder as opposed to salt (cue Debbie Downer music).

As for food, we started with the crudité and while good, one can only get so excited about veggies on ice, which sounds like the worst theatrical ice skating show in history. But the sauce they serve it with has some serious kick, so if you’re into heat and freshly chilled plants, go for it.

Next came the squid and scallion pancake, which is more inventive than it is awesome. Only truly reaching its potential when you caught a hot pepper from the sauce it was served with, which was only about two bites in ten.

The short rib with stewed potatoes and onions came next and it was easily the best thing of the night. Fall off the bone moist. Bursting with flavor. I loved it so much I wanted to crawl into the bowl and spoon it.

Being that the short rib was a tough act to follow, the pork belly skewers, fell short. Not terrible or anything, but I wouldn’t order them again. That said, if you choose to get them, make a mental note that they are MUCH better without the recommended lettuce wrap.

And batting clean up was the brisket fried rice. It was good, but sounds much better than it is. The egg on top gets lost pretty quickly in the morass of other ingredients. As does the brisket. Again, glad I tried it, not something I would order again.

That said, I would definitely eat here again. Service was great and not one thing was bad. Plus, there are a ton of other things on the menu I wanted to try, so stay tuned for updates.

3 teeth