As I’ve mentioned before Lex and I love our Asian food – particularly Thai. It was our last night in NY and we were craving some Asian so Lex did a quick Yelp search and found rave reviews for a place called Khe Yo – which happened to be on the same street as our hotel. We booked a table for an hours time and got ready to go. We almost missed the entrance of Khe Yo as it’s a discreet shopfront and was so dimly lit we thought that it was closed. We were seated promptly and the brick-walled, industrial-styled setting created a perfect ambience. The place was lively and had large groups dining. I’m not sure how they heard each other, the place was so loud that Lex and I could barely hear each other!
The waitress recommend we order two small and two large plates to share. Each diner gets a free serving of rice with their meal also. I think this was probably too much for two people to share. The large dishes were true to their namesake. I’d probably order just one small plate next time. Although Lex and I both agreed the small plates tasted better than the large, so perhaps even just a variety of small.
What we ordered:
The rice comes out first and you are encouraged to eat with your hands. The quote at the bottom of the menu reads, “Sticky rice tastes better when you eat it with your hands”. Lex and I kind of did a half-fork, half-hand kinda thing. They actually serve their rice with Bang-bang – a (very) spicy sauce and a side of eggplant to mix through. Initially Lex and I waited to eat the rice until our dishes came, although we soon realised this wasn’t the point. The rice almost serve as an appetiser designed to be eaten on it’s own. When in Rome we figured, so we tucked into the sticky rice and Bang-bang. Although rice is rice, the Bang-bang sauce was out of this world…
For our two small plates we went for the Lemongrass Chicken Sausage with Mustard Leaf and Starfruit and the Smashed Green Papaya Salad consisting of Green Market Cabbage and Pumpkin Seeds. The chicken sausage was sliced into five bite-sized pieces packed with flavour. I’ve never eaten starfruit but even that was delicious. You really couldn’t fault the chicken sausage. We wish there were more pieces! The Papaya salad was not like we usually order. Back home we get our papaya salad hot, and although the Khe Yo papaya was not spicy at all, it didn’t even need to be. This was the most flavoursome papaya Lex and I have eaten and tasted so fresh too. I think because our small plates were so delicious we had super high hopes for the large dishes, but in reality nothing could have been the small plates.
For the large plates we chose the Chilli Prawns which sat on a piece of Ginger Scallion Toast (that was soaking up all the sauce – yum!) and Coriander mixed through. There were three large prawns, two pieces of the toast and heaps of sauce. Lex isn’t a seafood fan but he doesn’t mind prawns if they don’t taste too “fishy”. These ones did though so he wasn’t much of a fan. Although he did love the toast as it was full of flavour sitting at the bottom of the dish. The prawns were delicious, but it was the sauce that I really liked. It had a really chilli kick to it. Our other large dish was the Pork Curry Noodles with Pickled Chilli and Banana Flower. This dish was aesthetically pleasing. It was served on a tray and all the elements of the dish (coriander, bean sprouts and banana flower) were all separate. There were two little bowls and you simply put your fresh elements in first and then poured the pork curry and the noodles in on top. Delicious! Lex and I both agreed though that the curry sauce was not as flavoursome as it could have been. Perhaps a kick of chilli would have been appreciated.
The service was exceptional at Khe Yo. Our glasses of water were being filled up as quickly as we could drink them and we were never short of assistance throughout the meal. Although the restaurant was quite loud, the atmosphere was great. I would recommend booking as this discreet, tucked away little gem was quite the place to be.