“I called it Kay’s Table because I only serve what I would serve to my family,” explained Kay Xiong Le, owner and operator of the new restaurant in Sylvania. Family is a big part of the Kay’s Table experience. Not only does the menu feature foods Kay would prepare for her own family, but the foods being served are prepared by Kay’s family.
“Growing up, my dad and I would bond over making dinner together. He believed in education and always encouraged me to go into medicine, which I did, but my first love was still cooking,” Kay, a former ER doctor, explained. “He taught me how to make my first pot of rice at a refugee camp in Ban Vinai, Thailand when I was about 6 years old. My father was always a great hunter. He is the cook in our family. He can cook anything.”
Though she had no professional experience, Kay began taking up cooking when she started a family. “After I had our first child, I couldn’t go back to practice. In seven years, I had five children. I ended up staying home and gave up my medical license five years ago. Over the last 20+ years, I cooked to try and perfect my skills and recipes. I always tell people I went into medicine so I can afford to buy all my ingredients to cook with.”
Traditional and new
Kay’s family grew over the years, and so did her appreciation of Southeast Asian cooking. Kay decided to open a restaurant with her children and signed a lease in February, 2020. Unfortunately the restaurant’s opening was delayed due to quarantine restrictions. Kay’s Table opened for take-out last December and began in-store dining this June.
The menu of Kay’s Table showcases foods from Korea, Vietnam, and throughout the Southeast Asian region. Traditional fare such as Vitenamese pho are available, but Kay also likes to mix it up. “I do have the basic dishes that are well known and popular to bring in the crowds. But I will also surprise new customers and regulars with specials that vary depending on what I’m in the mood to cook.”
Hearty and delicious
To try everything Kay’s Table had to offer, we took a look at the menu and specials (which change daily, according to ingredient availability). We started with a banh mi ($10.99), a traditional Vietnamese sandwich made with your choice of meat (we chose BBQ pork), pickled veggies and cilantro on a toasted bun. While the thick roll kept all of the ingredients together, the flavors complemented each other well. If you’ve had a banh mi, you will enjoy this great version. If you’ve never had one, this is a wonderful introduction.
After the sandwich, we went with bun cha ($16.99), a plate filled with lettuce, noodles, and other ingredients. Many different flavors came out in this dish, but they are all tied together with the nuoc mam dipping sauce, a sweet and garlic-heavy mixture.
We ended our meal with a special item Kay and one of her daughters had just introduced before our visit; the crispy Korean hot dog ($5.50). Perhaps you feel like this is more likely to be found at a state fair: a hot dog on a stick, dipped in batter, rolled in sugar, and topped with either ketchup and mustard or sweet chili sauce. Though not a part of the regular menu, it pays to check in every day to see what new dish Kay and her family are serving.
Whether you are experienced with Asian cuisine or can’t differentiate a spring roll from an egg roll, you’ll find enjoyment at Kay’s Table.
6600 W. Sylvania Ave., Ste. 3E, Sylvania