Critic Roundup: Khe-Yo's Sticky Rice Is 'Glutinous' and Free

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'The warm grains, served in a straw basket, are semi-dry and gently glutinous, with just enough tanginess to make your mouth water,' says restaurant critic Ryan Sutton.

This week in restaurant news, restaurant critic Ryan Sutton says the best dish at Laotian-inspired restaurant Khe-Yo is the sticky rice, which also happens to be free. "You scoop it up and loosen the mound with your fingers," he says. "The warm grains, served in a straw basket, are semi-dry and gently glutinous, with just enough tanginess to make your mouth water." Two sauces are served to complement the rice: One is "a mash of sweet, smoky eggplant," and the other, called bang bang, "puckers the mouth with lime, whets the palate with fish sauce, and assaults your lips and sinuses with chile." The sauced rice "delivers a sensory pleasure similar to eating Buffalo wings," says Sutton.

In Los Angeles, Zo, the downtown sister to Westside's Sushi Zo, serves only one thing: the $145 omakase menu. According to restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, when you call to make a reservation, "the person who picks up the phone... makes sure you know what you're getting into," and when you're greeted at the door, "the person who greets you... looks at your shoes." "You are unlikely to see anyone just drop by," he says.

In New York, Contra in the Lower East Side causes "many gasps, deep sighs, [and] cries of… amazing" from restaurant critic Gael Greene, for whom finding a "glorious" restaurant does not happen often. Though she describes the menu as "half-accommodating," "half-challenging," and "spare," Greene says the whole-wheat, "crusty warm rolls are unusual, seriously seductive," the Wagyu skirt steak is "lushly rich and thrillingly tender," and the quince tea jelly and frozen sour cream parfait with olive oil cream and crushed cookies is "sweet and sticky and wonderfully delicious."

 

Restaurant Critic Roundup: 11/13/2013

Critic Publication Restaurant Rating
Gael Greene Insatiable Critic Contra  
Ryan Sutton Bloomberg Khe-Yo 2.5 stars
Pete Wells New York Times Sushi DojoKurumazushi  
Jonathan Gold Los Angeles TImes Zo  
Tom Sietsema OC Register Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen 2.5 stars
Devra First The Boston Globe Cook  
William Porter The Denver Post   Acorn 3.5 stars
Robert Moss Charleston City Paper Southerly Restaurant & Patio  
Scott Reitz Dallas Observer Mesero Miguel  

 

Click here for The Daily Meal's "Top Chefs Review — and Rate — America's Food Critics."

 

Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter at @haleywillrd

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