Samui is nestled inside of a bright rainbow façade on an otherwise grey and quiet block, and the inside doesn’t disappoint: housed within the walls of exposed brick and 15-foot-high ceilings is something truly special.
As part of the massive Brooklyn Navy Yard area redevelopment, what was once a run-down garage has become a restaurant outfitted with custom chandeliers, undulating aqua banquettes, a bar created by artisans who work some amazing visual magic with glass of varying textures, and a solid menu of classic Thai dishes with enough twists to keep the food as interesting as the atmosphere.
Owner A. Napadol’s learned to cook alongside her grandmother at their tiny home-based restaurant in Thailand. Over the years, she’s taken what she learned and refined those recipes by adding a more contemporary flare while incorporating some of the European influences that often exemplify modern Thai cuisine.
On the menu is Chili Naked Shrimp with vodka and lime; Black Potato Fritters, a Mussel Pancake with egg, garlic chive, and bean sprouts; and Grilled Black Cod with miso jalapeno marinade, to name a few standouts. The menu also features A’s two personal favorites, Turmeric Garlic Chicken Wings with sweet chili peanut dip and Papaya with Roasted Peanuts.
“There is always room to maintain authenticity while still being a little creative with a classic dish,” said A. “Our duck noodle soup with shiitakes is inspired by a similar dish for which oxtail or short rib usually is the protein.”
Though recently opened, people are already returning for the short rib curry—one guest has come back six times just for that dish—and while it is representative of traditional Thai cooking, their take is “a little lighter” than most iterations because A’s chef drains the fat from the short ribs.
As the weather grows colder, expect more meat dishes, soups, and the addition of a champagne bar.
If you’re planning an event, you may be interested in knowing that they also intend on becoming the city’s first full service Thai caterer.
15 Vanderbilt Ave., Clinton Hill (near the corner of Flushing Ave. across from Brooklyn Navy Yard.)
All images by Oleg March