Yes, this is “real Thai food”. Why this new Oakland restaurant is a star, including burgers
At first glance, Jo’s Modern Thai can be easily stereotyped as a dime Asian fusion restaurant. Maybe it’s the lemongrass burger and lime makrut mayonnaise that puts off fans of ârealâ Thai food, or maybe the neon-accented decor that leans into the vibe of the boba store. I hear rejections of restaurants like Jo’s all the time from food lovers who seek “authenticity” – a “real” dining experience untouched by the world around him. They could take a quick glance and walk away. But that would be a mistake. What’s really interesting about Jo’s is the way he carries the tension that exists between adaptation and tradition: opened by a second generation Thai restaurant owner with a fun California-Thai menu, he s ‘strives to create an inclusive and truly Oakland-style approach to Thai. American kitchen.
The restaurant’s drunken noodle dish ($ 19) is a good place to start. The kitchen grabs an elastic tangle of wheat noodles in a wok with a few usual Thai American restaurant suspects like oyster sauce, onion, and bell pepper. The noodles, however, are instant ramen, from the popular Southeast Asian brand Mama. And pieces of smoked brisket act like protein, a Texan-style barbecue addition from Temescal’s Smokin ‘Woods BBQ. The fatty meat and wok hei work well together to enunciate the charred flavor in each bite, offset by the tangy Thai basil and young green peppercorns.