Zagat editor Maureen Giannone headed to TriBeCa to experience Laotian food, New York's newest cuisine, and filed the following report.
New York's first stand-alone Laotian restaurant, Khe-Yo, opened this month, headed up by chef Soulayphet Schwader, a partner and colleague with chef Marc Forgione for the past 10 years.
A passion project for Schwader, he brings recipes and inspiration from his Lao upbringing to the table at this new opening.
"There's great Thai restaurants here. There's great Vietnamese restaurants. I just thought Laotian cuisine really hasn't been showcased," Schwader says.
He adds that now people that are Laotian who grew up in the United States have a place to go and show friends what they grew up eating.
The regional cuisine focuses greens and fruit, which Khe-Yo highlights but then reinvents traditional dishes with local fare, like Ping-Pa, the whole grilled black bass with crispy shallot and tamarind peanut sauce.
"I really want [my servers] to show people how to make the perfect bite," Schwader says.
He wants costumers to never shy away from the cultural tradition of eating with one's hands.