The goods: In the middle of Calle Ocho, next to Domino Park and across the street from a Cuban bar, 2B Asian Bistro is an incongruous oasis of modern Thai food. Restaurateur Bond Trisransri opened here about a week ago after selling his stake in Mr. Yum. You can’t miss the Bangkok-born co-owner (his hair deserves its own column) as he welcomes guests to the sleek new spot. Its name, short for “two brothers,” signifies his commitment to the family-run business.
Ambience: Pale bamboo floors, mod white chairs and a lavender-lit sushi bar create a South Beach vibe.
The grub: Prices for the Thai and Japanese cuisine wouldn’t be out of place on South Beach, either: Starters range from $6 to $14 and mains are in the mid $20s. How does 2B differ from Mr. Yum? Well, there’s less focus on wacky sushi rolls and more on elegantly plated raw fish tapas – yellowtail topped with jalapeno and ponzu, spicy tuna on a bed of greens topped with tobiko, fatty tuna dusted with dried red pepper. Creative appetizers include Bags of Gold, delicate fried pouches of shrimp, shiitake and water chestnuts. Five Flavored Fish is a breaded and deep-fried halibut fillet served with a sweet and sour sauce.
Thai specialties include citrusy Tom Kah coconut soup and a daily curry that might be classic Massaman or Panang with shrimp, chicken or fried tofu. If you love duck, don’t miss 2B’s spicy, crispy, fried duck breast, served with cilantro, plum sauce and steamed buns for a make-your-own sandwich experience. Thai doughnuts dipped in condensed milk cut with crushed peanuts make for a sweet, carby conclusion.
Verdict: 2B is what you’d get if Mr. Yum toned down the gimmicky maki, reigned in the menu and added elegant Thai dishes to mix.