Neo Malaysian Kitchen has lemak.
That is reason alone to rejoice.
The bowl of velvety coconut cream sauce spiked with lemongrass, thin slices of toasted garlic, and a bit of turmeric, with chunks of potatoes and tender, moist pieces of chicken, is a meal that lives long in the memory ($14.95).
The flavors slowly reveal themselves, the textures love one another, and it’s a hefty meal at a not-too-hefty price.
It’s been several months since we last had the lemak at Neo, and we noticed a small adjustment — the sauce is much thinner, as though a coconut milk that was low on fat had been used rather than the rich, thick coconut cream.
That’s disappointing, though the dish is still packed with flavor. And a personal favorite.
Alas, lemak alone does not a review make (editors don’t like reviews to be about one dish). So we had a bowl, savored it, and moved on to other delights.
Such as the sweet basil curry with tofu ($12.95) and the five-spice Hunan duck ($17.45 for a half duck), which is Chinese, not Malaysian, but that’s one of the things we like about Neo — its Chinese offerings are made with as much thought as the Malaysian.
Neo was once a hipper, more upscale restaurant called Neo Melaka, at East River Road and North Campbell Avenue.
Owner Chris Yap moved it to the eastside location of his Seri Melaka in 2010, combining the two and calling it Neo Malaysian Kitchen. Yap made the River Road restaurant Om Modern Kitchen.
Neo is located at 6133 E. Broadway. It's open from 11 am.-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays;747-7811.
See the full review and more restaurant news in Thursday's Caliente.