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A Breath of Fresh Air

Story By Steve Murray Photos By Nathalie Walker
April 29 - May 5, 2012

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The best thing on Keo’s menu isn’t really on the menu. Yes, the curry is award-winning, its vegetarian options are impressive and the peanut sauce can turn a paper napkin into a satisfying meal, but all that takes second place to the real star of the show — freshness. Admittedly, it sounds like a cliche. Which restaurant doesn’t boast of preparing dishes straight from the farm or field? But chef and owner Keo Sananikone took it a step further by starting his own farm. What appears on the menu one night was likely in the ground that same morning. You’ll notice the difference right away.

Roast Duck Salad ($13.95), as an appetizer to share or a meal on to itself, is made with roasted boneless duck and a field of ingredients including mint, celery, cashews, onion, kaffir lime and roasted chilies. Served either medium or spicy, each bite contains a mountain of flavors with a fresh crunch that can’t be duplicated with bulk-bought ingredients.

Spring Rolls ($8.95, four pieces) and Summer Rolls ($8.95, four pieces) continue the rural tour of flavor with steamed chicken, shrimp, rice noodles, mint, parsley, cucumber, carrots and a total of three dipping sauces. Make it easy on yourself and order both. One is crispy, the other soft and chewy, and the selection of dipping sauces makes for some fun pairings.

Satay is a familiar Thai pupu item and Keo offers three choices: chicken ($9.95), beef ($9.95) and tofu ($11.95) — which to choose is up to you. Each is moist, tender and comes with enough peanut sauce to try in combination with other menu items. Or just eat it right from the ramekin.

Panang Curry is a Keo’s specialty for very good reason. Whether with shrimp and scallops ($16.96), chicken ($14.95) or vegetarian ($12.95), the dish bursts with flavor and just the right amount of heat. There is also a savory and sweet element that is especially noteworthy.

Add to this the soft breezes blowing in off of Kuhio Avenue and the upscale decor, and you’ve got a great dining experience.

Keo’s Thai Cuisine

  • Where
    • 2028 Kuhio Avenue
    • Honolulu, HI 96815
  • Call
    • (808) 951-9355
  • Hours
    • 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Open daily
  • Website