Address: 283 Van Brunt St (Pioneer St)
City: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 875-1155
Menu: View the Menu
2nd Cuisine: Family Friendly
Thai comes alive at Kao Soy. Located on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, the restaurant draws a mix of hipsters and young families able to eat well on a budget. Most apps are under seven bucks with most entrees in the $15-$20 range. Best of all, everything we tried was fresh and prepared with care.
Juicy shrimp blankets come wrapped in crispy shells with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Steamed chicken dumplings packed with mushroom, egg and water chestnuts are sadly gone too soon. Fried calamari that look like mini inner tubes offer a big burst of flavor. Nam Prik Ong, a dip made with pork and tomatoes, is slathered on romaine lettuce with cauliflower and puffed up pork rinds for crunch, while "pork poppers" put chicken nuggets to shame with a sriracha sauce. Banana blossom fritters are another popular dishes, offered with two sauces; spicy garlic-lime and a sweet peanut chili.
Som Tum is perfect mid-meal. The green papaya salad is made with tomatoes, string beans and peanuts with steamed shrimps dancing on top. It's sweet, spicy and special.
We did manage to squeeze in a few entrees. Crispy duck lives up to its name smothered in tasty tamarind sauce. The duck, deboned and cooked just right, is big enough to feed a small army (or in this case, three hungry foodies). If you like your beef rare, you will like Steak Jim Jaew. It's a butcher's cut with a Northern Thai chili-lime dipping sauce. Grilled asparagus, brussels sprouts and sugar snap peas, along with a large dollop of sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf, round out the dish. A bowl of chicken with a yellow curry sauce is fragrant and flavorful. Soft shell crab is also available in a green curry.
We never did get to try the signature dish, Kao Soy. It's made with fried egg noodles in a Chiang Mai curry soup with chicken, pickles and potato fritters. But that just gives us one more reason to return.
Kao Say is a pretty small restaurant and fills up quickly during peak hours. We arrived late afternoon (about 5:30pm) on a Sunday and had no trouble landing a table. Service is polite but can feel a bit rushed at times.
Review By: Thomas Rafael