>> [CLOSED] Cambodian Cuisine | Eat the World NYC

20 February 2009

[CLOSED] Cambodian Cuisine


[UPDATE: CLOSED It only lasted a year, as a very sad goodbye letter is posted on the restaurant's website].

It was 2005 or so that Cambodian Cuisine shuttered its gates in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and left in a huff. According to the New York Times, its owner had been convinced by Manhattanites visiting BAM to move to the island. Not a note was left, nor a trail of bread crumbs, and off he went. What he found was three years of trouble with the city and permits, but finally in 2008 reopened in the Upper East Side.

Initially I thought I did not want to pay the new location a visit, for pride's sake, but it took less than a year for that to fall away. Yes, prices were up a few dollars, but the food was hopefully still very good. The place was definitely an upgrade, with a clean, polished look and well decorated dining room.
I started with my old delivery favorite, the chicken ahmok ($14.95, below), and was pleased to find my favorite dish still alive, if only $3 more expensive. This chicken had been marinated in a batter of coconut milk, lemon grass, and chilis, and was still topped with the same delicious coconut milk curd. The dish was a little smaller than I remember, but I was satisfied.

Our table also tried the samlor mchoo kroeurng ($14.95, below), a giant vat of soup served over a flame. The taste was pleasantly tangy and immediately brought to mind Thai tom yum. Cambodian food is definitely similar to its Southeast Asian neighbor, but somehow the tastes are more subtle and do not explode in your mouth like Thai. That is not to say bland, but unfortunately our last dish was a bit in it's tofu version: The samlor kawko ($14.95, not pictured) just did not pack any punch.

The menu has a spice rating system at the bottom that consists of three levels: spicy, mild, and bland. We recommend staying away from the dishes labeled bland, for they are not kidding. All in all, the Upper East Side is benefitting from its recent addition, although it will be missed in Brooklyn.

1664 3rd Avenue

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