The setup feels sort of Lower East Side: a postindustrial brasserie serving New American dishes executed by a Thai chef named Nick. The mishmash of cultures and styles seems right at home, though.
The Big Apple doesn’t just meet the Big Mango — it takes the red eye, stops in for ribs and beer, and tags the wall on its way out the door. It’s a fusion capable of surviving the whims of culinary trends. At Shuffle, at least for a night, a little slice of Bangkok becomes the Bowery.
Shuffle has been around for a couple of years, its cherry-red signage pointing southeast from the second floor of Rain Hill on Sukhumvit. It’s a warm, exposed place, the interior filled out with lots of burnished metal and glass. Light bulbs in iron cages, a steel-gray bar, paper placemats decorated with pen drawings reminiscent of the Gilded Age — the décor lends it a steampunk vibe.
The dishes are mostly meat-centric, but not overwhelmingly so, and the greens come fresh and dressed, often accompanied by pork, as they are in a roasted eggplant and bacon salad (B230). The starter pairs the limp, smoked vegetable with three slices of pan-fried strips, a soft-boiled egg, and sprouts varnished with vinaigrette. The warm, earthy flavours warm up the palate for more assertive combinations to come — like, for instance, piquant lobster soup (B290). This pumpkincoloured bisque hides a late-burning kick in its spice-crusted croutons and chunk lobster. Nick finishes it with a drizzle of cream, the richness offering a pleasant juxtaposition to the bitterness of IPA on draft.
Not since Masaharu Morimoto last appeared on “Iron Chef” has a soy-ginger glaze been used to such dazzling effect as it is on the grilled black cod (B420). The saltsweet coating seals in the cod’s buttery juices, which, when taken with a piece of sautéed broccolini, a fried shallot, and a wild mushroom or two, pop like fireworks. The fish is, quite simply, fantastic. The star of the menu, however, is also the least pretentious: a pork chop (B450), bone-in, cooked medium. This striking, paprika-rubbed specimen rests on jus-laced mashed potatoes, a couple of glazed carrots at its side. It isn’t ground-breaking; just executed impeccably.
For dessert, a chocolate tart comes de-constructed, with a crescent crisp dissecting in it, a dollop of lemon custard on top, and a cloud of whipped cream to the side. This last memento is suffused with Manhattan’s spirit, going heavy on textural contrasts to give the dining experience some verve.
777 Rain Hill, Sukhumvit 47, Fl 2 | 0 2261 6992 | facebook.com/shufflerestaurant | daily 4.30pm-11pm