Little Uncle: Best New Restaurant 2012

This year’s batch of Best New Restaurants adds new depth to our lively, layered restaurant scene.
Allison Austin Scheff  |   November 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Little Uncle’s incomparable pad thai, with chiles and lime

You’ll be a born-again Thai food fan after tasting the bright, fire-cracker version cooked by husband-and-wife chefs Poncharee (aka “PK”) and Wiley Frank at their takeout window on Madison Street across from Healio. Inspired by a life-changing visit to Thailand, the duo (he previously cooked at Lark) spent two years ironing the kinks out of their Thai street-style food at a recurring Monday-night pop-up restaurant and a farmers market stall. They opened their takeout-only window—with a few sidewalk seats available—last winter. But in a city with a Thai restaurant on every corner, what’s the fuss about? The vibrancy. The thrilling balance of sparkling flavors: The food dances on the palate, shot through with lime, zinging with vinegar, with the heat of chiles tamped down by coconut milk or soft, steamed jasmine rice. Little Uncle’s pad thai ($8.80) is unlike any other in town: less saucy, more eggy, with crunchy peanuts strewn throughout. Add a tiny pinch of the sweet sugar and dried chiles served alongside and the flavor pops even more. There are tender beef-cheek-filled buns ($3.30), soul-warming curry specials, and warm conversations with PK and Wiley, so obviously happy doing what they’re doing in the slim space. Little Uncle stands apart.

You should know: Takeout only (order ahead on the website: littleuncleseattle.com); parking is challenging (try the load zone across the street); closes early (8 p.m.); cash preferred. Get directions.

RETURN TO BEST NEW RESTAURANTS 2012

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