We are big fans of Vietnamese restaurants. You know, the mostly diner-style places with no frills, that aren’t big on customer service or ambiance but serve a great steaming bowl of Pho or a cool but delicious rice vermicelli dish?
So, when KEO was recommended to me as a Tulsa eatery to try, I was somewhat suspicious. I’ve found upscale eateries trying to serve Asian food a little subpar and was certain this place would be no exception.
I was so wrong.
Owners Bill & Zahidah Hyman created KEO (Keo was Zahidah’s maiden name) after leaving their jobs in the business world. The day I was there, Zahidah, the resident chef and genius behind the recipes, ran in to say hello with her kids, fresh from a youth baseball game.
Their philosophy was to create a place and space that not only offered wonderful Asian flavors, but also a unique and classy dining experience complete with nice wine and cocktails. You know, somewhere that you could go on a romantic date, a girl’s nite in heels, or just gather with a group of friends over a nice glass of wine?
And they’ve done just that. From the floor to ceiling airy windows and sleek black and white dining area with resplendent golden awnings draping out over the tables, to the classy bar wrapped around the front of the restaurants, KEO has class.
The dining room is wide and long.
And you’re likely to see Bill hanging out behind the bar talking and taking care of business.
Oh yes, and there is really good Asian cuisine. Good enough, in fact, that in the 15 restaurants we tried in Tulsa, I keep remembering this one dish from KEO (more on that later!).
While Zahidah’s roots stem from mainly Vietnamese cuisine, you’ll also find other Asian flavors mixes like Thai, Cambodian and Malaysia fused in. The menu boasts the traditional Pho, Tom Ka and Vermicelli Salad you’ll see at other Vietnamese restaurants, but also things like Thai Sweet Basil and Pad Thai and Cambodian Stir Fry as well.
We began our tasting with an order of Edamame.
KEO’s edamame had great flavor with some sort of garlic salt sprinkled over top. It was a good start to a fantastic meal.
Next up was a delicious, healthy and wonderfully done Papaya Salad (known as Som Tam in Thai cuisine).
Made of green unripened papaya, carrots and topped with perfectly cooked shrimp, this salad hits the palette on four levels, with the sourness of lime juice, a bit of spice from chili, salty fish sauce and a touch of sugar. I loved this salad.
For an entree, we picked the Vietnamese Crepe with Duck (you can also pick chicken, shrimp or ground beef).
This is it folks, THIS is the dish I want to drive an hour and a half north just to get again. The thin Vietnamese crepe seasoned with turmeric and filled with seared duck, bean sprouts and a delicious brown sauce was like nothing I’ve had before. It was so delicious!
For dessert Bill insisted we try the Banana Wonton.
Bananas wrapped in wonton skins, then deep fried, and placed like sentinels protecting a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then drizzled with chocolate and caramel and dusted with powdered sugar? Well, it just about did us in.
We thanked Bill for force feeding us this splendid dessert!
We loved our visit to KEO Asian Cuisine and look forward to another trip.
I can’t get those Vietnamese Crepes out of my head!
P.S. Zahidah has graciously offered up her recipe for the Vietnamese Crepe. My book The Food Lovers’ Guide to Oklahoma is available on Amazon and many other sites now for pre-order! Click here to order!
3524 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK 74105
Website & Menu
For all the peeps wanting to locate KEO, here is a map for ya!
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