East Dallas’ Khao Noodle Shop will reopen as new takeout restaurant
The Khao Noodle Shop in East Dallas will remain closed for the time being. In February, Chef Donny Sirisavath plans to reopen in the same location as a restaurant called Khao Gang.
The restaurant sells curries, soups and stews to take away only.
“We have to play this to-go and delivery game,” says Sirisavath. “I have to do this to survive.”
Chef Donny Sirisavath holds a photo of him and his mother Phaysane Sirisavath, who has died of cancer. Sirisavath’s Khao Noodle Shop and Khao Gang restaurants are inspired by their cuisine.(Ryan Michalesko / employee photographer)
For the past 18 months, the restaurant has taken one of the most dramatic roller coaster rides of any Dallas restaurant in recent history. In September 2019 it was named the country’s second best new restaurant by Bon Appetit Magazine. It was a hot place in Dallas, not just for the food but also for its history: Sirisavath opened the restaurant to honor his late mother and her Lao recipes. He dreamed of opening a second restaurant. But then, six months after receiving the Bon Appetit award, the dining room was closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sirisavath and his team closed the restaurant twice to save it.
Sirisavath says he’s done getting his delicate noodles working in a take-away world. He’d rather put the Khao Noodle Shop on hold and try something new, he says.
“Khao is more of an adventure restaurant – and it’s made for eating,” he says. “The reason we want to do this [new] Concept is there isn’t a lot of education involved. We don’t have a server that explains the entire menu. “
The dishes in Khao Gang are still Lao, but are anchored by rice instead of noodles. Every dish is meant to be wrapped that way and driven down the street – which would never have worked with most Khao Noodle Shop menus, says Sirisavath.
He calls Khao Gang “simpler, more relatable”.
10 to 12 items are sold and are available for pickup or delivery. (Sirisavath has not yet determined which delivery company it will use. The details can be complicated.)
The dishes in Khao Gang include:
- Gang Kari: yellow curry with chicken thigh chops, battered and fried panko, with leek, potatoes, carrots, turmeric, cumin, lemongrass and other spices
- Gang Jued: Soup with pork balls, winter melon, glass noodles and mushrooms. “It really warms you up,” says the cook. It’s his mother’s recipe.
- Gang aw gai: A stew made from chicken legs, lemongrass, ginger, eggplant and padaek (Laotian fish sauce), served over rice. Sirisavath shared his recipe for Dill Chicken Stew in the Wall Street Journal in October.
Customers can likely order a “flight” of curries or stews: smaller batches of three dishes. It’s inspired by the flight of noodles in the Khao Noodle Shop.
Sirisavath treats Khao Gang like a ghost kitchen that can change their menu items more quickly to suit their customers’ interests.
He confirms that Khao Noodle Shop “isn’t gone”.
The Khao Gang is located at 4812 Bryan Street in Dallas and is expected to open in mid-February 2021.
Read more about Khao Noodle Shop:
- When the pandemic strikes back, “You think you’re the nation’s second largest restaurant? Well, here comes COVID-19, ”says the Dallas restaurant owner
- On its first temporary closure in April: “We have exhausted our minds, our bodies and … our bank accounts.”
- Right Before the Pandemic: How the Tiny Khao Noodle Shop in East Dallas received huge national attention and learned to survive – and flourish
- Pop the champagne! The Khao Noodle Shop is America’s Best New Restaurant by Bon Appetit
- From Reviewer: One of the most delicious things I ate in Dallas came from the Khao Noodle Shop
- Where it all began: The New East Dallas restaurant serves Lao soul food – plus a sweet family story