Update September 24, 2014- The Michelin guide of high-quality yet affordable restaurants added Khe-Yo to the 2015 list. Once again, BatteryPark.TV spotted a winner before it was in the news (as we did with Racines, the new North End Grill, etc)
October 20, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD
Fate must have sent me to the new (and New York’s only) Laotian restaurant, Khe-Yo, on Duane street where the old cabaret used to be. I tried American Cut first, but it was closed hosting the party for the New York Food and Wine Festival party. Then, I walked to the other Forgione place, but it too was closed for a party.
Shit out of luck, I contemplated Brushstroke, the well regarded sushi place, but it was too slow and depressing. I walked past Khe-Yo across the street from Brushstroke, next to Bouley, but it was too busy. So I walked around Tribeca for an hour disgruntled, and finally ended up back at Khe-Yo. A higher power seemed to be directing me.
“Executive Chef Soulayphet Schwader and partner Nick Bradley have joined with Marc Forgione to bring Laotian-inspired Southeast Asian cuisine to TriBeCa”, states their website.
The meal began with the delivery of sticky rice and two dipping sauces. They are like the bread and butter of most meals. (Note, The jackass NY Times reviewer wrote, “Servers invariably described the sticky rice and sauce combo as “our bread and butter service.” This hand-holding feels superfluous for New York in 2013, as does the repeated instruction to wrap food and herbs in lettuce to “create your own perfect bite.”. Pete Wells was wrong. The servers give essential explanations to the exotic dishes. Not all of us eat at restaurants for a living like he does).
The wood box tray comes with fresh vegetables, such as bean sprouts, that the diner adds to the bowl. The other ingredients are meant to cool the mouth if one is burned by the spicy peppers.
Warning: do not eat the pickled peppers in the little finger bowl. They will essentially mace your mouth and pharynx. Whoa Nelly.
After the excellent (and quite affordable) meal, I chased it down with a crisp New York beer and strolled home (Well, I made a two-hour-long stop at Macao, Bubble Lounge, then Terra). As I returned to my starting point, which was American Cut on Greenwich, the GM invited me in to the party.