Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Taking its name from Ko Samui, an island in Southern Thailand (Ko means Island), Samui is one of the most unexpected restaurants I went to in New York. When I received the invite to try their food, I did not imagine to find such a place, off the beaten path in Fort Greene, that opened two weeks ago: from the vibrant yet elegant decor to the fantastic food, this is the kind of restaurant I would definitely go back to, even if I have to walk 6 blocks from the train station. I cannot comment on the authenticity of the food, but, considering that the Executive Chef, A Napadol is from Thailand and grew up learning how to cook with her grandmother, I would think that this is fairly authentic, although, as you will see, the Chef added her own touch to some dishes. I spoke a bit with Chef A and she mentioned that what is important is to provide quality food at reasonable prices, healthier and lighter than most of the Thai restaurants that uses various sauces packed in sugar (after she said that, I was thinking about the number of times I found my food sweet when eating in a Thai place).
Of course, the first thing you notice when arriving is the facade of the restaurant, very symmetric with all these vibrant colors, by renowned graffiti artist Andrea von Bujdoss (aka QUEEN ANDREA ONE), which evokes the Ft. Greene’s industrial heritage. Then, the dining room is amazing: warm, modern and elegant, every detail has been thought through (even the hooks under the bar are a nod to Thailand, representing an elephant, an important figure in Thai society), the middle of the room kind of looking like its own island, illuminated by three large geometric copper chandelier.
To continue on honoring artists, Chef A and her husband, music producer Hani Albader (who better than him could be in charge of the music that was not too loud, allowing us to enjoy a nice conversation?), installed a 3D screen behind the bar, so local artists' work could be projected. So, with such attention to detail in the restaurant itself, I was curious to taste the food. To accompany it, I went for Thai iced tea, my classic order. But, notice on the photos below the different shapes of the glass: it is because the one on the left has Mekhong Thai Whiskey (it is called Makong Thai T). It was very good, but a bit dangerous, because being not too strong, so you could drink that all night long...
We then started our meal with some appetizers. The first one was the black potato fritters, served with a cucumber relish. I loved the presentation that reminded me of pakoras in Indian cuisine, and potato latkes for the taste, although way more crunchy. I loved it with or without the relish that added a nice freshness as well as added crunch to the dish.
The next one was a classic: crispy Spring rolls. Quite good, crispy with a filling that was tasty and the shell not too thick.
Then came the tumeric garlic chicken wings served with a sweet chili sauce. It was delicious and I truly appreciated the fact that there was not too much garlic in it...The chicken was crispy on the outside and moist inside.
The last appetizer was the Tom Yum Kung: Spicy shrimp soup. I never think about ordering soup as an appetizer, but, recently, I tried a dish with Tom Yum that put my mouth on fire, but was so good that I kept going back to it. So, I was thinking that maybe it would be another revelation. Fortunately for me, it was not spicy and I loved the layers of flavors given by the lemongrass and lime. The broth was fantastic and there would not have been shrimp or mushrooms in it, I do not think I would have cared!
Then came the entrées. Jodi went for the crispy red snapper. Contrary to a lot of restaurants, they do not serve it whole, simply because some of the patrons do not like to see the head of the fish. This was sublime: the snapper was crispy on the outside, moist in the inside, being perfectly cooked.
On my side, I went for the maksamun curry aka massaman curry. Not for a lack of originality as I often order that dish, but because it was the first time I saw it served with...short ribs! So, I got curious and was not at all disappointed. First, the short ribs were delicious, perfectly slow cooked, so I did not even need a knife to cut through. Then, the curry itself was heaven: very tasty, it was not watered down like in some Thai restaurants and had an incredible flavor. I should mention that it did not have any peanut so it can be eaten by people with this kind of allergy.
Last was dessert. The first one was one that I always look for when eating Thai: mango and sticky rice. The mango was sublime and the sticky rice good, but I wish there was a bit more coconut milk.
The second dessert was even better: warm banana in coconut milk. I simply loved it and had to control myself not to finish it. I particularly liked the coconut milk with the sesame seeds that added a nice nutty flavor to the dish.
We had an amazing dinner at Samui. This is definitely a place I recommend: it has this cool vibe and elegance that makes it so unique. And let's not forget the food that was delicious!
Enjoy (I did)!
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