Review: Colonel Kurtz would have liked Khe-Yo

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ApocalypseNowUpdate 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)

Greer and Soulayphet SchwaderOctober 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.

Khe Yo chef with ForgioneI sat at the corner spot of the bar. The bartender guided me well through the menu and directed me to the best Laotian experience, which is the bowl of Pork Curry Noodles.

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).

Sticky riceThe entree was perfectly plated and not skimpy. The images on their website, for some reason, made me worry that Khe-Yo was serving artsy fartsy small dishes like Eleven Madison.

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.

Potk curry noodles 2Pork curry noodles spoonAfter 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.

Khe Yo frontAs a great closure to the evening, I ran into the Khe-Yo chef and Marc Forgione. He and his staff recognized me from the restaurant, which was a nice touch of hospitality.

Forgione and  SchwaderGreer and Soulayphet Schwader(Note: In the title, Colonel Kurtz from the film Apocalypse Now is referenced. He was stationed in Cambodia, not Laos, but it’s close enough for the purposes of this story)

Khe Yo ribsKhe Yo crunchy riceKhe Yo duck

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3 Responses to Review: Colonel Kurtz would have liked Khe-Yo

  1. Marc Forgione says:

    Thank you for the reviews. Seems like you get my style. It was hilarious!

    Hope to see you soon.


  2. Megan Brock says:

    Dear Steven,

    Thank you so much for the write-up. I’m sorry we weren’t able to arrange something more formal, but very glad you enjoyed. The article was very entertaining as well, I loved the first photo! I hope to meet you the next time you’re in.

    Warm regards,

    Megan Brock
    General Manager {Khe-Yo}
    157 Duane Street
    New York, NY 10013
    (212) 587-1089

  3. Peter McManus (PR for Khe-Yo) says:

    Steve, great piece and thanks for coming in!

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