Laos-Inspired Snacks At Khe-Yo In Tribeca

So much tasty goodness has come into the world thanks to late-night snack attacks.

That includes sien-haeng, the sesame-flecked beef jerky ($12) at Tribeca's new Laotian-inspired spot, Khe-Yo.

Actually, Khe-Yo's entire inception could be attributed to midnight cravings. Former roommates and current partners in Khe-Yo, Marc Forgione and Soulayphet ("Phet" for short) Schwader, worked together for more than 12 years at BLT Steak, AZ and Restaurant Marc Forgione.

Late nights often ended with Schwader cooking the foods of Laos for the two at home; Forgione was instantly hooked.

Now, so are we: Schwader makes his beef jerky by marinating top round slices for 24 hours in fish sauce, sugar, salt, crushed garlic and a whole lot of black pepper. The overnight dunk is followed by a round of oven drying, and then a crisping in the deep fryer.

Chef Phet's family in Laos
"Just like my mom still does to this day," says Schwader.

At the restaurant, the beef jerky is served with smoky chili sauce and fresh radish halves. Caramelized, salty and tender, it's the perfect bar snack along with the crunchy-sweet-sour-spicy coconut rice balls ($10) and a drink.

Fresh coconut | Crunchy coconut rice balls
The two chefs still rib each other like a couple of roommates: The chili prawns ($25) with slabs of ginger-scallion toast are Schwader's answer to Forgione's famous chili lobster with Texas toast. "Just to spite him," he laughs.