If, around noon today, you felt the axis of the culinary earth shift some in downtown Los Angeles, you would not be wrong. Andy Ricker's much-anticipated Thai noodle shop in Chinatown finally opened its doors a few hours ago.
Ricker, whose Thai food empire in Portland, Ore., is now composed of four restaurants, had previously expanded to New York. Pok Pok Phat Thai is his first restaurant in Los Angeles, the first of two, as his larger Pok Pok LA is scheduled to open later on in the spring in Chinatown's Mandarin Plaza.
Pok Pok Phat Thai is a tiny shop a few doors down from Chego in the Far East Plaza on Broadway. There are 14 seats and counter space inside, along with a kitchen, with extra seating at the picnic tables outside in the plaza courtyard.
On the menu is, as you'd expect from the name, phat Thai, the plate of stir-fried noodles that's the national dish of Thailand. Originally introduced in the '40s as a tribute to the then-king, it's a purely Thai invention: phat means "stir-fry," according to the folks at the restaurant; Thai means, well, Thai. There are variations, with shrimp and/or pork, and a vegetarian version.
Pok Pok Phat Thai, 727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, 213-628-3071, www.pokpok.com.