Lao Discoveries in Manhattan, by Appointment Only

The menu at Mangez Avec Moi leans toward Thai and Vietnamese, but that's not the whole story. This Tribeca restaurant, run by a family from Laos, will also make off-menu Lao dishes on request, UnitedNationsOfFood reports. That's big news for Chowhounds, who know Lao cuisine is hard to find in New York (though it overlaps with Isaan food of northeastern Thailand, which is creditably represented at Zabb Elee in the East Village).

Smart orders at Mangez Avec Moi include house-made Lao sausage; spicy chicken fritters, a good match with the accompanying sticky rice and hot anchovy paste; laab, made here with chicken and chicken oddments (including heart and kidney); and a "wonderfully brutal" papaya salad, punched up with a ton of chiles and some fried pork rind on the side.

The Lao connection at Mangez Avec Moi is not new. Some years ago, Lao dishes were even on the menu there. But times and tastes change, and the owners have taken their homeland specialties underground except for diners who order them a week ahead. "If you ask nicely—and if you ask far enough in advance, since some of the dishes require some serious work—the chef might make some Lao dishes for you," says UnitedNationsOfFood (who also blogs about this find). "And the restaurant is packed during lunchtime, so she can only prepare the Lao food for dinner on weekdays. But if you don't mind some advance planning, it's great stuff."

Mangez Avec Moi [Tribeca]
71 W. Broadway (between Warren and Murray streets), Manhattan

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