the vegan fork: Pukk

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Visit date: Jan. 10, 2006, dinner time

Here are some things you should know about Pukk:
  • It's a vegetarian Thai restaurant in the East Village (1st Ave around 5th St). It's not all vegan, but I think you can have the eggs left out of any dishes that include them to make everything vegan.
  • They made some sort of horrible mistake with their decor. You will notice right away, and it may even keep you from entering the restaurant. They have a white and neon green color scheme, and from the style, my guess is that they got a great deal on all of their furnishings from some Miami night club that went out of business. It's important that you're prepared for this before you get there; show up knowing that you should walk in the door despite every instinct you have urging you to never enter a place that looks like that. Trust me, it'll be worth it.
  • It's an incredible relief to go to a Thai restaurant and not worry about fish sauce!
  • Many of their dishes come with your choice of protein: "chicken," "beef," "duck," or tofu.
  • The service is quick and the food is cheap! Check out their menu here.

On my recent visit, I had the red curry with "chicken." I think the biggest problem that Pukk has is that some of their fake meat doesn't look very appealing. I looked down at my "chicken," and I thought "oh no, I ordered the wrong thing!" The stuff looks like plastic. I don't need my mock meats to look like real meats, but I do want them to look like food.

Despite the appearance, the red curry was really good. It has pineapple and bamboo shoots in it. It was decently spicy, but not burning hot. The "chicken" has a good texture; no one's going to believe that it's real chicken, but it's nice and chewy with a very mild flavor that basically just sucks up the flavor of the sauce it's in. It could have been slightly less greasy, but I tend to say that about everything I eat in a restaurant.

On a previous visit I had the green papaya salad. It was delicious. I definitely recommend it!

In this picture, on the left is the red curry and on the right is the "perfect protein duck."


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