Chef Phet Schwader Opens Second NYC Spot with Dhom in East Village

The new tapas and cocktail bar offers a Southeast Asian-inspired menu, plus french fries.

Published on 8/5/2022 at 12:03 PM

interior of Dhom

Dhom | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

When chef Soulayphet Schwader first moved to New York City from Kansas in 1999, like many green transplants, he was eager to explore the city’s restaurant and bar scene. But his salary from working as a line cook often left him with limited options—and especially in downtown Manhattan, finding a quality place to go to regularly was always a challenge.

Now, with the recent debut of his East Village spot, Dhom (rhymes with rum), Schwader—who goes by “Phet”—offers a new generation a comfortable food and drink destination that his younger self could have frequented throughout the week.

Phet Schwader | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Located in the 12th Street space that previously housed the second iteration of Mace bar, Dhom is the second joint venture for Schwader and his business partner, Nick Bradley, after opening their popular Laotian restaurant, Khe-Yo, in Tribeca in 2013.

Named after a Laotian nickname from his childhood, which the Laotian community of Kansas also refers to him by, this all-day tapas eatery and cocktail bar features Southeast Asian-inspired flavors that also showcase the chef’s Laotian roots. With a budget-conscious approach in mind, currently, the food menu ranges from $5-15 and signature drinks are $14.

“Dhom represents my identity, background, and career in hospitality.” says Schwader. “It’s dedicated to those in the East Village crowd who remind me of when I first moved to New York City: poor, young, and looking for different things to try.”

Along with outdoor seating, the dining room is separated into two spaces and can accommodate up to 75 guests. In addition to exposed brick, lush leather chairs, and booths, Dhom also features artwork by Laotian artist, Chantala Kommanivanh, which depicts significant moments from Schwader’s family history, like in the ‘80s when his mother, Soubanh Schwader, gained U.S. citizenship and holds an American flag at her naturalization ceremony.

For drinks, guests can choose from beer, wine, sake, and signature cocktails like the Lao Lao (cognac, pineapple, strawberry); Gin & Strawberry (pandan-infused gin, strawberry puree); Lychee Martini; and more.

For the culinary offerings, Schwader’s menu of gemp-lao (dishes designed to pair well with drinking) are reminiscent of what he’d share with his family in Kansas. “When I eat with my mom back home, our spreads are typically herbaceous, vibrant, and spicy,” he says. Signature items include the Khao Nieow + Jaew Sohm (sticky rice with spicy Lao chili sauce); Naem-Khao (crunchy coconut rice salad); Ping Huwah Jai-Gai (grilled duck hearts with lemongrass); Kwah Guhp-Pa Sai Mahk Len (sardines with charred tomatoes); and Naem-Pa (crispy market fish salad with carrot sauce).

In addition, Schwader was sure to include an off-menu item that’s a personal favorite: thin-cut french fries.

“Even when they sit out for 10 minutes, these fries stay crispy and I love it,” says Schwader.

Dhom is located at 505 E 12th Street near the corner of Avenue A. It opens daily at 11 am and closes at midnight on Monday to Wednesday, 2 am on Thursday to Saturday, and 11 pm on Sunday. Call 646-833-7965 for more info and reservations are available via Resy.

Tae Yoon was born and raised in Queens, and is the Editor of Thrillist New York.