The best thing I ate at Khe-Yo, a restaurant serving Laotian food by way of Tribeca, was a complimentary serving of sticky rice that had me reeling. It held together in tight balls and carried a faint floral perfume. Two sauces were served alongside for dunking balls of rice with your fingers: one an inky pile of eggplant cooked down into a thick paste, the other thin and full of sliced chilies, a roar of heat and fish sauce and garlic that kept me reaching for water for the rest of the night. But tongue ablaze, I kept dunking and dunking. I hid the sauce when they tried to take it away. I asked for more rice and did it all over again.
The menu implores you to eat it with your hands, saying the rice tastes better that way. I wish the rest of the food delivered the same rush.