Say Uncle

Get hooked on the Thai flavors at Uncle Boons

These days, everyone thinks his or her family is the most food-obsessed clan there is.

We have news for you: Ann Redding's brood takes the cake.

Redding, who–with her husband Matt Danzer–is behind Nolita's new and most excellent Uncle Boons, grew up hiding from her principal as her mother picked water spinach knee-deep in the creek across from her elementary school in Maryland. Then there were hours spent with relatives as Redding and company traversed the dusty roads of Thailand seeking a specific street-food vendor. And finally, Danzer and Redding met cute while cooking on the line at Per Se.

So it's no surprise to find water spinach on the menu, peppered with garlic and yellow soybeans ($5), and a roast chicken-and-banana blossom salad ringed with crisp shallots ($15) that hums with both spice and flavor, worthy of a pair who once cooked at the House of Keller.

Not all flavor here is reliant on heat: A dip of salted black crab, coconut cream and ground pork ($16) is a balm to the swaggering flavors of a green curry with pickled mustard greens ($21).

Redding's cooking stays true to its deliciousness heritage–and with good reason: Otherwise, Redding says, "My mom will yell at me."