Talk about a melting pot—French-Chinese husband-wife team Marc Kaczmarek and Mei Chau are dishing out traditional Malaysian to Little Italy. Chau (born to Chinese parents in Port Dickson, Malaysia) and her Parisian hubby reincarnate the East-meets-West vibe of their beloved Tribeca bistro, Franklin Station Cafe (shuttered in '08), at this bright, narrow restaurant. The teensy open kitchen supplies big portions of Malay homestyle fare including laksa, a spicy Peranakan noodle soup. Settle into the cream leather banquette for a spice-laden menu of curries (squid, mussels), turmeric-scented salmon and crispy duck rolls flavored with star anise—fittingly, the restaurant's name means "with spices" in French. The 550-square-foot spot is humbly decorated with old-fashioned tin ceilings, exposed brick and black-and-white tiled floors, with a rotating selection of Kaczmarek's own colorful photography of Manhattan street art. In springtime, the accordion front door opens onto Baxter, ideal for soaking in rays while enjoying the eatery's free Wi-Fi and sipping Malaysian brews (Tiger, Anchor).
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