Last Thursday night, Marc Forgione – NYC restauranteur, Top Chef – kept the party going as over 1,000 tech geeks, socialites, members of the press and at least one foodie celebrated the release of Motorola’s MOTO X phone at a launch event in NYC.
Hours earlier, the phone itself was unveiled at a press preview where the world (well, for now, just the United States) got its hands on the first Motorola product designed completely under Google’s unique set of eyes. Later that evening, though, the celebration continued on to The Waterfront in Chelsea, where the focus shifted slightly off the phones and onto the multiple bars, art installations by street artist Thank You X, musical stylings of DJ Kaskade and M4SONIC, and of course, the party snacks by the aforementioned Chef Forgione. As usual, I was just there for the food.
I went hoping to get some details about Forgione’s new restaurant, Khe-Yo, opened just days earlier with his executive chef (and now partner) Soulayphet Schwader. Khe-yo aims to be NYC’s standard-bearer for Laotian cuisine, of which Laos-born Schwader knows a thing or two about. The dinner menu (a click on the site’s “Lunch” link brings a promise of things soon to come) includes a dish of lemongrass Berkshire spare ribs, and encourages diners to eat with their hands, which is enough to get me on the phone for a reservation ASAP.
But our evening’s chef was tucked away somewhere, unsurprising given the size of the event and the sheer amount of items being served. So we were just left with the task of simply consuming said items and trying to Instagram them in the dark.
The passed hors d’ouvres were modern, fun, and addictive. Fried bites of mac ‘n cheese, pea and pecorino toasts, tiny crab cakes with dots of aioli; it was crowd-pleasing but never boring, thanks to Forgione’s mastery of combining flavorful ingredients with other sensory details. When I wondered aloud if there was going to be bacon, a server passed by with a tray of apps lined up on some sizzling slices – the delicious aroma adding an extra element before you even got a taste. And things never got too conceptual – while some may have been tempted to play “tricks” with savory flavors, those precious ice cream cones everyone was pouncing on were, in fact, filled with sweet, sweet ice cream.
As I chased down another floating tray of mini lobster rolls, a group of girls in neon wigs scampered by, waving the new phones. For a moment, I remembered there was something going on here besides a talented chef showing off his own innovative creations… And then the ice cream tray came around again.