Sometimes, the very best way for a restaurant to make a great impact on a incredibly hot summer months day is by hitting you with a awesome blast of AC.
In the midst of previous week’s warmth wave, strolling into RukDiew Cafe for supper from a scorching-scorching Southeast Belmont Street felt like floating into a pastel pink and environmentally friendly oasis. This new location from the staff guiding Portland staple Thai Peacock and a lot more latest spinoff Khao Moo Dang is a strike on social media and by now packed nightly, so it is not just the effective central air that is attracting the crowds.
Owner Poomipat “Pat” Thaithongsuk’s inspiration for his latest challenge is his mother Temsuk’s adore and kindness, which is mirrored in the business’s title: RukDiew indicates “one love” in Thai, and the menu is crammed with food she cooked for him as a little one. That passion (Pat’s “secret ingredient”) has helped him create a queer-helpful harmless house for everybody: Not only are clients getting a good time, but the team also look to be enjoying by themselves whilst hustling with a dancelike groove along the central bar although Harry Designs performs. RukDiew’s layout, motivated by goals and fairy tales, is equally tranquil and playful, with framed illustrations on the partitions, light-weight fixtures that resemble clouds and eclectically patterned plates.
What a delight it is when individuals first dishes get there and you recognize you haven’t been duped into attempting hyped-up Instagram food—everything matches the stellar high-quality of goods coming out of the kitchens in Thaithongsuk’s other two establishments.
The most sought-immediately after Thai appetizer in Portland these days could possibly just be chicken wings, since the drop of the Pok Pok chain has many hoping to find an enough replacement. Appear no even more: RukDiew’s incredibly hot wings ($9) are not only heavenly, the dish is secretly two excellent snacks in just one. Flats and drums are tossed in a light chile-garlic sauce and served on a bed of fried basil leaves and egg noodles. The moment the wings are gone, you are left with an “OMG”-good pile of sticky, herbal strands to crunch on.
The crab rangoon with pineapple sauce ($8) is generously stuffed, and the unanticipated yellow curry taste evokes chilly autumn nights when you’d crave a heat-you-from-the-within dish. Chilly apps support cut as a result of some of that richness. Refreshing rolls with tofu and peanut sauce ($7.50) are effectively-produced, but could advantage from the addition of herbs to make them genuinely pop. Somtum ($11), a a little bit overdressed salad of shredded environmentally friendly papaya and peanuts, is exciting to scoop up with shrimp crackers ($6).
Entrees are strong throughout the board, most notably the khao soi ($15 with tofu), primarily a ideal dish: two kinds of noodles, a broader contemporary egg noodle and thinner fried a single, hold out in a Northern-design curry sauce immediately after a rapid tub in the fryer. Its smoky spice is subtle at to start with, then grows, but is balanced out by a cooling medley of inexperienced onions, shallots, cilantro and lime. Panang curry ($16 with shrimp) with basil, makrut lime leaves, and chopped peanuts is deep and complex. Even though kana moo grob ($15), cubed pork stomach stir fried with tender slices of Chinese broccoli in a spicy soy and oyster sauce, is a wonderful use of sister cafe Khao Moo Dang’s star ingredient.
Takeout staples also truly feel elevated listed here: Pineapple fried rice ($13 with tofu) is tender and capabilities layers of saltiness and sweetness thanks to a mixture of yellow curry powder, cashews and raisins. I could not prevent heading back again for one far more bite…about a dozen periods. The pad kee mow ($13 with tofu), which can often be a just one-note automobile for spice, is my favored version of the dish I have had in Portland. RukDiew’s acquire has the sweet black soy taste of pad see ew, a solid basil flavor, delicate chile spice, and soften-in-your-mouth wide rice noodles. Anyoce who needs to include a lot more spice can ask for the scorching sauce tray, which contains chile powder and pickled peppers so very hot they created one of my dining companions cry.
If you do obtain on your own shedding tears during your food, no matter whether prompted by spice or pure pleasure, the Thai iced tea ($3) provides comfort and ease and aid. It’s considerably less heavy than other variations, with a playful candy corn-satisfies-cereal milk taste. The mango mojito ($11) is also suitable for sipping throughout your food given that it’s loaded with refreshing lime and mint. Other beverages may well need to have a little bit of function: the lychee martini ($10) was extremely floral and not fairly cold sufficient, and the plum sangria ($10) tasted like cabernet on ice.
The signature dessert, sticky rice with mango ($7), was served a minimal way too warm—almost hot—but experienced a intimate presentation. The rice was combined with butterfly pea powder, generating it a vivid shade of blue, then topped with a coconut milk sauce and served alongside ripe sliced fruit. The lava cake ($6) is really regular, and pretty mouth watering: warm, gooey and fudgy, but it could have benefited from a scoop of ice cream on the side.
These kinds of points are the most minimal of quibbles, having said that. I’d stack this excellent restaurant along with the titans of Portland’s Thai foods scene. I, personally, are not able to hold out to make RukDiew Cafe my regular place.
Consume: RukDiew Cafe, 2534 SE Belmont St., 503-841-6123, rukdiew.com. 11:30 am-3 pm and 4:30–9 pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-3 pm and 4:30-9:30 pm Friday, midday-9:30 pm Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.