In a city where Italian restaurants procreate like rabbits and French bistros are becoming as prevalent as Starbucks, nothing is more refreshing than the opening of a Laotian restaurant. So when Iron Chef Marc Forgione partnered with his longtime friend Soulayphet “Phet” Schwader to showcase the food of Phet’s homeland at TriBeCa‘s Khe-Yo, there was much rejoicing by variety-craving New Yorkers.
Sticky rice, the base of Laotian cuisine, arrives gratis as soon as diners sit. It “tastes much better when you eat it with your hands,” says the menu. It’s even better when scooped up with some of chef Phet’s beef jerky ($12). A marinade of fish sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, salt, pepper and garlic infuses slices of Creekstone Farms beef with potent flavor. After being steeped in the sauce for 24 hours, the meat is oven-dried, then sprinkled with sesame. The resulting texture is pleasantly chewy and the sweet, smoky, spicy and tangy flavor is absolutely explosive, so much so the accompanying smoked chile sauce seems redundant. If you choose to dunk it anyway, nothing takes the fiery edge off better than an ice cold Beer Lao Lager, and some of that sticky rice.
157 Duane St.