Lao It On Me…


Like A Virgin…Khe-Yo enters the Manhattan dining scene. The name is pronounced the same as the chant before blowing the shofar on the Jewish High Holidays.

Permit me to take the opportunity to blow about the first Laotian restaurant in New York City…New York City? Yes, the only Southeast Asia country not represented has made its’ debut off Broadway in Tribeca.

Marc Forgione, who owns several restaurants in the city, has teamed up with Nick Bradley and chef, Soulayphet Schwader, to establish a sexy, re-creation of a night out in Laos, but the location is Duane Street. This vibrant section of Tribeca is alive with restaurants and boutiques.

The welcome is warm as soon as you enter. We were seated immediately even though we were early…never know about traffic when you drive downtown from the Upper West Side to Tribeca and we scored a primo parking spot…of course, we went through the ritual of checking the street signs multiple times!

Jimmy, our suave Swedish waitperson, greeted us and we dove right in. An adult beverage was our immediate priority and we chose a buttery, well priced Bordeaux (Chateau Le Pavilion de Boyrein 2010 $44) from the all-French wine list.

coconut rice
Crunchy Coconut Rice

With guidance, we kicked off our Laotian adventure with Crunchy Coconut Rice (Nam-Khao) which was spectacular. The server smashed up the patties and we spread the mixture over the cold, crisp lettuce leaves and made Laotian wraps. All dishes are accompanied by sticky rice and bang-bang sauce which tastes just as it sounds along with a puree of eggplant.

sticky rice
Sticky Rice

This amazing dish was followed by Pork Belly and Shrimp Crispy Rolls with Bibb lettuce and sweet carrot sauce. The dipping sauce reminder me of Vietnamese fish sauce which I could savor on the rocks. I liked the rolls, but they were a bit too meatcentric for me…strong pork belly presence, but they were crispy and the shrimp very flavorful.

Pork Belly and Shrimp Crispy Rolls

We ordered the special, an amalgam of sautéed mushrooms which we were instructed to wrap in strips of kale. Fresh and tasty and we proceeded to mop up the delish sauce with the kale leaves which reduced the dish to healthy and nutritious!

Next up the entree…we indulged in the fall off the bone Lemongrass Berkshire Spare Ribs (Ping-Sien-Moo) with spicy smashed long beans and heirloom tomatoes, accompanied, yet again, by sticky rice and bang-bang sauce.

spare ribs
Lemongrass Spare Ribs

The Chili Prawns (Goong-Phet) with ginger scallion toast and Thai basil was our other choice, but Jimmy recommended the spare ribs so we went with Jimmy. He was spot on.

Chili Prawns with Ginger Scallion Toast

We noticed that many tables also ordered the very appealing whole grilled Black Bass (Ping-Pa) with crispy shallots and peanut sauce.

We thoroughly enjoyed the food, service was efficient and attentive and the general manager Megan Brock, made the evening beyond special. Laotian food is a welcome addition to the NYC international food scene.

After thought…certain people should not consume alcohol. Our next door neighbor’s voice and number of utterances of “like and f..k’s” increased with every sip of rose. She should definitely stick to water or tea. On the plus side, the large table next to us encouraged us to cuddle up to them and share as her chant had also reached their ears.

Khe-yo, 157 Duane Street near West Broadway.  Open Monday-Saturday 5:30-11pm. 212.587.1089.


  1. David Catzel says:

    Fabulous…. I’m starving

  2. David Catzel says:

    Fabulous…. I’m starving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *