Review from The Oregonian
"Red Onion is Dang Boonyakamol's third explosion in the Portland area -- first at Cha Ba Thai on Sandy Boulevard several years ago, and until recently, at the impressive Dang's Thai Kitchen in Lake Oswego. Dang's greatest strength is working with textures, making them turn out the way they should and setting different ones against each other in the same dish. His crispy dishes are seriously crispy -- a specialty dating back to Cha Ba -- and in the most crowded, chili-laced stir-fries, his meats never turn into casserole casualties, keeping their tenderness and their identity. Sure, he can do a chicken with green curry, but the dishes you haven't seen in lots of other places are more interesting.
Red Onion serves many of the favorites from Dang's, reflecting his roots in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, plus a monthly specials list that recently included those calamari tubes stuffed with cilantro-scented ground pork and shrimp, fried crunchy, and arriving hot and crisp enough to suggest a sprint from the deep fryer.
The extensive regular menu provides its own excitement. Roast duck, admirably crisp and tender, arrives in a sauce with the delicate flavor of tangerine instead of the more common orange. Everyone does mussamun curry with potato and peanut, but Red Onion offers a beef version laced with pumpkin, giving the curry a rich, starchy body.
...Service is warm and endearing....Prices are also friendly; virtually all dishes are under $15, with appetizers topping out at $8, and substantial portion sizes should be borne in mind when ordering."
Review from Willamette Week
Restaurant of the Year Runner Up
"Chef Aut “Dang” Boonyakamol’s Red Onion forced us to sit down and take notice. The new restaurant, from the former chef-owner of Cha Ba Thai and Dang’s Thai Kitchen, is a direct flight to Northern Thailand hunkered down across the street from the emergency entrance to Legacy Good Sam Hospital. The stylish lime-and-brick-colored dining room serves a long list of off-kilter favorites, from soupy, shallot-y khao soi curry to salad rolls packed with sweet Chinese sausage and topped with Dungeness crab—all served in sharable portions.
But it’s what Chiang Mai native Dang didn’t put on the menu that garnered him a following of Thai expats over the past decade; until recently, regulars would call him to special order deep-fried squid tubes stuffed with cilantro-laced ground pork and shrimp or homey nam prik oang, a tomato and minced pork dish that’s the Thai equivalent of spicy spaghetti sauce. He’d make his own lemongrass-and-kaffir lime Chiang Mai sausage by hand, top mounds of puckery shredded green mango with crisp-skinned rainbow trout and doctor up chile pastes with special Asian cumin seeds only found at Lily Market. Then, earlier this summer, Kenny Zuke’s Nick Zukin convinced Dang that Americans were ready to broaden their borders.
Chef Dang, 51, has been cooking since he was a kid—forced to grind chile paste for his mom in the kitchen instead of going outside to play, he says with a grin. The love and care he still takes in making this complex, deftly spiced fare is evident—it tastes just like home ought to."
Review from Portland Monthly Magazine
"Given the long, eclectic string of boutiques and eateries lining NW 23rd Avenue, it’s easy to file past the storefronts as though they were just windows on a train. But the new Red Onion Thai Cuisine is well worth a stop. Thai restaurants feel like Starbucks here in Portland—there seems to be one on every corner. But Red Onion chef Dang Boonyakamol’s cooking will take your tired taste buds by surprise. Formerly the owner of Dang’s Thai Kitchen in Lake Oswego, Boonyakamol serves up his native Chiang Mai cuisine at this modest Nob Hill nook. So while you’ll find Thai standards on the menu, like chicken satay and pineapple-fried rice, you’ll also encounter rarer regional dishes such as po pia sod ($8)—Chinese sausage, shrimp, and egg, all wrapped in rice paper and topped with shredded Dungeness crab—or stir-fried green curry beef ($12) accented with a gingery rhizome root, kaffir lime, and crispy fried basil leaves.
The monthly specials list features succulent novelties like deep-fried calamari tubes stuffed with pork and shrimp, and a striking rib-eye salad. Piled high with bright tomatoes and mint leaves and drizzled in a spicy lime-juice dressing, it’s just one of the many dishes designed to seduce you away from pad Thai. Best of all, Red Onion’s entrées are more likely to bust your shirt buttons than your pocketbook—which means you can afford to choose the adventurous route."
Review from NW Examiner
"Whatever you order, you can be pretty much guaranteed of a tasty Thai meal at Red Onion, the third Portland-area restaurant venture for chef Dang Boonyakamol. But if you desire a more unique culinary experience, order off the specials menu. This menu (which rotates about once a month) is where Boonyakamol showcases authentic recipes from his native Northern Thailand.
Pla Meuk Yut Sai (deep-fried calamari tubes stuffed with ground pork, shrimp, cilantro, onion and carrot) is similar to angel wings, the stuffed chicken appetizer found in many Thai restaurants. But here the filling predominates over the breading, providing a satisfying burst of flavor.
There’s plenty to enjoy on the regular menu as well. Larb Chicken (ground chicken with mint, scallions and roasted rice, rolled in lettuce leaves) provides a similar limey bite as the green mango salad in a smoother textural form. In the Glass Noodle Salad (ground chicken, shrimp, rice noodles, shallots, mint, cilantro, lime and chilies), the noodles melt into the meat, providing yet another rendition of the same theme.
Yes, you can order standbys such as won ton soup, fried rice or pad Thai. I’ve heard they’re good, but haven’t felt compelled to order such common items when there are so many more exotic things to choose from."
Review from MIX Magazine
"Chef Dang Boonyakamol had a serious following when he cooked at Dang's Thai Kitchen in Lake Oswego. Now he's moved to busier Northwest 23rd Avenue and has expanded his menu to offer Thai dishes that a number of other restaurants don't have. But there are reliable standards, too, like a generous Thai beef salad, loaded with grilled rib-eye, tomato, cucumber, lemon grass, onions and kaffir lime leaf, all tossed with lime dressing. The fire coming from the chile-infused meat dazzles, while the coolness of the greens and citrus cools things down -- quite the palate roller-coaster ride for a mere $10.
A word of caution: The kitchen loves spice, and a medium here is what passes for hot in other kitchens."