Jenn Saesue of Bangkok Supper Club and Fish Cheeks
Photos courtesy of Bangkok Supper Club and Fish Cheeks

Resy QuestionnaireNew York

20 Questions with Bangkok Supper Club and Fish Cheeks’ Jenn Saesue


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In the Resy Questionnaire, we play a game of 20 questions with the industry folks behind some of our favorite restaurants. What’s your most memorable restaurant experience? Your favorite food movie? What restaurant would you want to time-travel for?

In this edition, we spoke to Jenn Saesue, the co-owner of New York’s Bangkok Supper Club and Fish Cheeks.

The Resy Questionnaire

1. Favorite thing you’ve ever cooked?

This is a tough one, but I’d have to say grilled meat and vegetables; I keep it pretty simple at home. I love steak — I’ll often grill a New York strip out on our apartment’s balcony. It takes no time, it’s consistent, and it’s no fuss.

Café Chelsea steak frites
Steak frites from Café Chelsea. Photo courtesy of Café Chelsea
Café Chelsea steak frites
Steak frites from Café Chelsea. Photo courtesy of Café Chelsea

2. Kitchen tool or equipment you couldn’t live without?

A cast-iron pan; it’s essential.

3. What culinary items would you bring on a desert island?

Garlic, lime, fish sauce, pepper, and onion powder. I put onion powder on literally everything; I love it.

4. What’s your favorite place to get a slice in New York?

So many. Joe’s Pizza is good, so is L’Industrie. I also love the onion pie at Fini in Williamsburg.

5. Favorite cookbook?

David Thompson’s “Thai Food.” It came out over 20 years ago, but it does an amazing job of describing everything about Thai cuisine. I love the content and how he breaks it all down; he’s very detailed.

6. Your drink of choice?

I honestly love water! But if I’m having a cocktail, I like a dirty martini: vodka, ice-cold, olives. 4 Charles Prime Rib has a great version with blue-cheese-stuffed olives.

7. Favorite food movie?

“The Menu.” It’s funny and ridiculous but so true, too. It does a good job of making fun of the industry while also being well-written and acted.

8. Your ideal dinner party guest, dead or alive? 

Probably chef David Thompson! I had an opportunity to meet him a couple of times, and he’s so funny, witty, and knowledgeable. Having him for dinner would be great, and he cooks amazing Thai food.

9. What restaurant industry person do you admire the most and why?

Danny Meyer. He’s an amazing operator and has managed to curate an incredible empire with all the top chefs and a range of concepts from fast-casual to super high-end. It’s super admirable, and he does it all without being a chef himself.

Fish Cheeks spread
Photo by Nick Johnson, courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Fish Cheeks spread
Photo by Nick Johnson, courtesy of Fish Cheeks

10. The greatest restaurant experience of your life so far?

There are so many. I enjoy super fine dining, but I also tend to be more low-key, especially when I go back to Thailand; I don’t need all of the frills.

There’s a rolled noodle cart in Thailand that’s been around for 30 years that’s probably my most favorite. It’s open nearly every day selling noodle soup that you can add things to like pork and intestines, but what really makes it stand out is the garlic oil the guy who runs it makes himself every day. He put all of his kids through college — internationally! — just from this cart alone. My dad takes me there every time I go back home, and the guy remembers me, it’s wild. Sadly, the last two times I went, they shut down the street where he’s located, so I’m still trying to track him down.

11. Your greatest professional achievement?

Fish Cheeks, and how we’ve grown since then; it really shows how hard we worked for it. We had no investors, and that, plus the fact that we’re still here after COVID, nearly eight years in, and now expanding to a second location, shows what a big deal this really is.

12. What single dish best describes your personality?

Hot pot: I eat it all the time. I love making my own sauce, all the vegetables, a little bit of meat … you can do it how you want, it’s fun. I grew up having it in Thailand. I’ve had meetings over hot pot. I’ll go to Haidilao, or The Dolar Shop on Third Avenue; it’s not fancy and I love getting an individual pot.

Fish Cheeks hot pot
Saesue is a big fan of hot pot. Photo by Nick Johnson, courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Fish Cheeks hot pot
Saesue is a big fan of hot pot. Photo by Nick Johnson, courtesy of Fish Cheeks

13. If you could go back in time, which restaurant would you dine at?

Coffee Shop back in its heyday, 16 to 18 years ago. It was all about the vibe, not the food. Such an amazing location, huge bar, kind of sceney, but with a good seared-tuna salad. And it was a beautiful building, too. So approachable, you could go anytime, and it was always open — no fuss. Now it’s a Chase bank; it’s very sad. Coffee Shop was very New York, and I miss that feeling it captured; not many restaurants these days are like that.

14. Your favorite meal from childhood?

There are so many. I love noodle soup, boat noodles. Also khao soi. My auntie used to make it with pickled cabbage, sweet pork on the side, homemade curry paste. It was very much a homemade dish, and I still haven’t found one here that measures up to it.

Hokkaido scallop ceviche from Bangkok Supper Club. Photo by Evan Sung, courtesy of Bangkok Supper Club
Hokkaido scallop ceviche from Bangkok Supper Club. Photo by Evan Sung, courtesy of Bangkok Supper Club

15. What is your wish for the restaurant industry?

I want consumers to have more of an open mind to what chefs are presenting, and to stop generalizing cuisines. That’s been our motto and goal since day one, especially with Thai food. I think we’re doing a good job, and people are being receptive, so I hope that continues to be the case.

16. What do you wish you did better? What do you do well?

I wish that I was able to let go a little bit earlier than I did, to trust that my team can handle any situation that comes their way. We really try to foster an open, inclusive, educational atmosphere among our employees, and show them how we like to handle the business so they can feel empowered to do the same. It took a while to let go but once I did, I was able to see how much easier it could be.

We didn’t start with a lot of funding, we did everything ourselves, so we felt we knew how to do it best — how could anyone do better? But I learned you can’t grow that way — you can’t be good at everything and perform at 100%; other people can do a better job for you. Knowing that then would have saved me a couple of years. That said, I think I’m good at delegating tasks. I let my team take their own leads, and grow on their own. I think the fact that 55 Hospitality has continued to grow to more concepts and locations shows that I’m getting better at that skill.

17. If you could eat through a city for a day, where would you go?

This is so hard! It would have to be a trip around the world. First is New York — so diverse, so many cuisines, so many great places. Bangkok, of course, that’s my motherland; you can eat all day long. And Tokyo is one of my favorite cities, especially for all of the fish! I could never limit it to one city.

18. The one thing you can’t resist splurging on when you go out?

I splurge on food. I order way too much — I want to try everything! I often don’t know when I’ll get to visit a restaurant again, so I see it as R&D: trying, learning as much as I can. I go into every restaurant — even the high-end ones — with a family-style mentality. I want to share.

19. What do you value most in restaurants?

I value the people. They make the restaurant happen, every single day. I’m extremely grateful for all of our teams; we wouldn’t be where we are without them. The guests too; they spend their money and give us two, three hours of their day, they celebrate milestones with us. One guy recently proposed to his wife at Fish Cheeks and we had a whole discussion about how he was going to surprise her with the ring. She, of course, said yes.

20. It’s your last meal on earth, what are you eating?

This is like torture! Steak definitely. Some sort of noodle soup. I would have already had hot pot at this point, so no need to have it again. And sushi too, of course.


Fish Cheeks is open daily for lunch and dinner. Bangkok Supper Club is open daily for dinner.

Follow Jenn Saesue on Instagram.

Deanna Ting is Resy’s New York & Philadelphia Editor. Follow her on Instagram and X. Follow Resy, too.