157 Duane St.
(bet. W. Broadway and Hudson)
More casual than fancy

Marc Forgione‘s former executive chef Soulayphet “Phet” Schwader is cooking what he calls “Laotian-inspired” food: While the flavors are traditional Laotian, presentation and ingredients are often different. (For example, papaya salad is a staple of the cuisine, but in fall, he’ll incorporate butternut squash.) The accompaniments—sticky rice (“tastes better when you eat it with your hands,” says the menu), condiments, sauces, and side vegetables—are as important as the main dish. The restaurant, which seats 64 with room for ten more at the bar, looks rather like Marc Forgione without the bric-a-brac. The only Asian touch is an elephant mural on the rear wall; Laos used to be called the Land of a Million Elephants. Walls are exposed brick, complete with ghost arches. Note: Khe-Yo is pronounced kee-oh.

Khe-YoKhe-Yo roomKhe-Yo bar