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Kampuchea Noodle Bar


Bond Girl
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It's only been six days in operation, and most of the food hounds have already been there. "We had Gourmet, TimeOut, Citysearch...." the server we had rattled off a long list. Inside, there is a line waiting, even though it is well past 9pm on a school night. So was it worth it?

Well, the place certainly have charm, with dark warm Asian tavern style type of furniture. And, the food to go with that charm. My grill cuttlefish salad had good smokey flavors and the shrimp Cambodian pancakes was crispy with the right balance of fresh bib lettuce and carrots. The Filet Mignon Katiev-a rich looking beef noodle soup- won praises from my friends. I was told that the broth was wonderful.

Currently, the menu is rather limited, so vegetarians will have a very hard time. Amanda, the very nice manager told us that the fully expanded menu will contain options for vegetarians.

The place does not serve any booze yet either, but will happily open any alcoholic beverages bought in and put them in nice glasses for you. Prices are comparable to Momofuku.

Kampuchea Noodles Bar

78 Revington Street

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I've been twice now, and to me overall, it's pretty average. First off, the seats/stools are probably the most uncomfortatble things to sit on for any length of time (especially for those of us, umm, getting up in age!).

The first time I sat at the bar waiting for my party to show up - the bartender called me "pardner," which I really love. We tried the green papaya salad (avg), berkeshire pork crepes, (which to my taste needed some flavor help though it's a nice presentation), one of the bahn mis ($7 - $9, the best thing we tried) and a couple of the soups (oxtail and the phnom penh) which were above average, but at about $16 a pop should be.

Last night we had the pickles (Momo has nothing to worry about in this category), the crepes again (they may have been even less flavorful), the lemongrass beef salad and another of the soup noodle dishes. Nothing is rocking my world here, and it seems like the dumbing down process is well in the works - also, the staff hovers and removes plates practically before you're even done with the food on them.

I want desperately to like this place, but please folks, cook us something that really tastes like it might be from s/e Asia. Use chilis!! And stop rushing me - there was no one waiting for my seat.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 2 months later...

It will be interesting to compare LES Cambodian to UES Cambodian. I guess I should walk by the Cambodian Cuisine (the restaurant formerly in Fort Greene, Brooklyn) site on Third Avenue between 93rd and 94th to see if their long-delayed opening has actually happened.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Side note on Cambodian Cuisine, the construction is not finished. The proprietor was feeling kind of down about it, because he had been promised a January completion, then a February completion, etc., and now he thinks it could be another month or more. I'll keep an eye on it, since I live on East 93rd a few blocks over.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 3 months later...

I went into Kampuchea with an open mind but a mostly negative attitude. “It’s not real Cambodian,” was something I heard several times, and a couple of my most trusted sources, who had dined there early on, had decreed: “Don’t bother.” Still, I’m in the process of writing a book about Asian restaurants in America, and I thought it would be negligent, or maybe just lazy, not to speak to the owner of the only currently operating Cambodian restaurant in town (we’re still waiting for Cambodian Cuisine, formerly of Fort Greene in Brooklyn, to open in its new location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan).

So I made arrangements to speak to Ratha Chau, the chef-owner of Kampuchea, but his position was that first I should eat the food, then come back some other time to interview him. So, tonight we went down to Kampuchea for dinner, and thanks to our generous host we had the opportunity to taste quite a few dishes. I’m probably going to do the interview next week; I barely had the opportunity to meet Ratha Chau tonight – we only spoke for a couple of minutes when I got there. So these are just my impressions of the food. I’ll try to post more about Ratha Chau’s whole story another time.

I’m not sure what Kampuchea was really like when it opened, and maybe I’m lucky I missed those first few months. I walked by in January, looked at the menu, thought it was not well designed, had heard little good about the place, so concluded it was unworthy and going nowhere fast. But what we experienced tonight was an amazing meal. I think Kampuchea has not been fully grasped by the food cognoscenti. No, it’s not a Cambodian restaurant as such. Rather, it’s more of a Spice Market meets Momofuku situation, but with Cambodian as the most significant influence.

The Momofuku restaurants are the most obvious comparison, given the physical layout and general style. There’s a healthy dose of that new-paradigm admixture of haute and rustic, though Kampuchea leans more rustic than Momofuku. Still, there’s that feeling of the technique and ingredients of a high-functioning New American kitchen being brought to bear on Asian-inflected food. There’s organic chicken, sweetbreads, Berkshire pork, freshwater prawns, careful plate arrangements that owe more to Alfred Portale than to Asia, and a white guy operating as number two in the kitchen.

Spice Market is another relevant point of comparison, because Kampuchea (which, like Momofuku, gave itself the misnomer “Noodle Bar” for some inexplicable reason) is really about taking street food influences (the menu says “Kampuchea: a tribute to street food” right at the top and, interestingly, does not say “Noodle Bar” anywhere) and running them through a more upscale set of ingredients and procedures. Needless to say, tiny Kampuchea lacks the grand scale of Spice Market, but the food on the plate has stylistic similarities.

So I think Kampuchea is bound to fail to communicate itself to those who are looking for a Southeast Asian restaurant experience along the lines of a Cambodian equivalent of the Vietnamese restaurants on Baxter Street. If you want that experience, wait for Cambodian Cuisine to reopen. Kampuchea, for its part, isn’t an imitative restaurant. It’s an original, of this moment, New York place. And the food, taken on its own terms without any baggage or expectations, is great.

We started with grilled sweet corn, slathered with coconut chili mayonnaise, and topped with chili powder and coconut flakes. This was probably the most street-foodish item we had all evening, and it was delicious. The corn itself was the best I’ve had yet this season, and I felt there was just the right amount of stuff on the corn. It was a messy procedure to distribute the garnishes and eat the corn, and that perhaps was the aspect of the evening that most reminded me of being in Southeast Asia: the little time I’ve spent over there, I devoted mostly to trying to figure out ways to get more napkins so I could wipe off my fingers after diving into messy, difficult-to-eat food without the benefit of a fork or knife. You definitely don’t want to wear a white linen dress to Kampuchea. Not unless you have some seriously bad-ass chopsticks skills – as in, you can eat corn on the cob with them.

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Our tasting panel, PJ, seemed quite pleased with the corn as well:

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The star of the platter of house-made pickles was the pickled ramps, though all the pickles were delicious. One thing I really liked about the pickle selection was its balance. The server mentioned that this one was spicy, this one sweet, this one sour, etc. A nice touch. One word of advice, though: quite a few of the dishes on the rest of the menu come garnished with these same pickles in various combinations. So if you’re with a group and you’re ordering several plates (or you’re a disgusting pig like me and you share half the menu with a 22-month-old), you’ll probably see all the pickles eventually anyway.

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There are a bunch of alcoholic beverage selections, but we were driving so we went with fruit juices. These are the fresh watermelon juice and the “lychee fizz.” I preferred the lychee fizz, however the fresh watermelon had the benefit of vivid purity. There’s also a pineapple-coconut, which is equally delicious.

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PJ was also partial to the lychee.

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(He also ate several of the ice cubes.)

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One of the highlights of the evening, and artfully presented, these are chunks of crispy, honey-glazed pork belly with scallions and lemongrass, with an “apple cider drizzle.”

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Here we have the ginger-rubbed freshwater prawns, split and grilled. A very nice product, flattered by the seasonings and cooked not one second too long or short. Not as messy as you might imagine – the way they’re prepped makes it relatively easy to get the shells off.

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This is another dish that would be at home at a more upscale restaurant: seared sweetbreads in a chanterelle, black and shiitake mushroom broth, with scallions and basil oil. The best sweetbread dish I’ve had in awhile.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to eat enought of that dish. PJ, though he hesitated at first, eventually warmed to the sweetbreads, then demanded mine as well.

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One of the sections of the menu is “Cambodian savory crepes.” There are four options, and this one is chopped jumbo tiger shrimp and red onions. The main ingredients are served on an eggy crepe and you’re instructed to wrap the crepe in lettuce and garnish it with sprouts, mint, basil and sauce. Lean way over your plate to eat this one. I loved the synergy of the flavors.

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Looking over the photos, this was a pretty exhausting meal, but it’s a testament to the quality of the food and the brightness of the flavors that, even at this point, I finished an entire bowl of mussels all by myself. These are Prince Edward Island mussels in a spicy and sour broth, with tomatillos, celery, okra, red onion and Thai chilis. It comes with a side of garlic bread for dipping. I didn’t dip the bread, though – I found it more useful for counteracting the heat of the Thai chilis.

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These are the “tamarind baby back ribs,” however I’m pretty sure these aren’t baby backs. Way too much meat on them for that. I’m guessing country style ribs because they’re more like tender little pork chops than they are like ribs. But anyway, these ribs should really appeal to the pork-loving community. I ate four of them.

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Here we have skirt steak with Sambal chili and toasted coriander. Irresistible, and as you can see cooked just right. (Also, I refer back to my earlier comment about the reiteration of the pickles.)

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Another section of the menu is “Num Pang,” which I suppose is Cambodian for banh mi, or sandwiches. There are nine choices here, or you can get a tasting of three small sandwiches. Here we have grilled tofu with sweet ginger-scallion soy dressing, pulled oxtail with spicy tamarind basil sauce, and coconut tiger shrimp with toasted shredded coconut. Predictably, I favored the oxtail, though I confess the tofu was damn good. This is what the plate looks like when it comes out:

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I also went ahead and opened up each of the sandwiches for a look inside:

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Now, if you have been reading along, you may be saying, hey, I thought this place was supposed to be a noodle bar? Well, yes, there is indeed a noodle-soup-stew section of the menu, and for the last dish we had some noodles. This dish alone would have been a filling dinner for one person. Here we have seared tiger shrimp, crispy pork belly, chives, cucumber, lettuce hearts, hoisin and chili sauce, and underneath all that are chilled flat noodles.

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Now, Kampuchea is not as cheap as the Vietnamese restaurants on Baxter Street. But the highest-priced dish we had all night was that last one, at $15. There’s nothing over $17 on the menu. And a lot of the dishes are under $10, for example the sweet corn is $6. That pork belly dish: $11. The sweetbreads: $12. To my way of thinking, it’s a very, very good value.

Finally, here’s Ratha Chau working the pass in Kampuchea’s open kitchen. It’s okay, you can say it: he sure is tall for a Cambodian guy. He must be six-feet-plus.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Wow, nice report, Fat Guy.

Since my original experiences were way back in December, 2006, I look forward to giving this place another try or two....seems like the food has come a long way since then, as we were not all that impressed late last year.

It looks like you were there fairly early - was service an issue at all?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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We were there at 6pm and for about an hour we had the undivided attention of our server and a couple of additional servers. By 7pm the place started to get more active, and by the time we left at 8pm it was pretty full -- not slammed but well populated. I would definitely say that there was less service as the place got busier. Two of the people who served us seemed very nice, and one was kind of cold. He seemed not to like me. Maybe he's an eGullet Society member.

When you go, my suggestion is (if you have a couple of people) that you get the pork belly cubes, the sweetbreads, the ribs and that cold noodle soup with shrimp (oh, and the corn! oh, and the mussels!). That's the meal I'd love to hear your feedback on, for purposes of calibrating my own palate and sanity. I mean, I was registering "Momofuku good" in my brain, but what do I know? Also, definitely chat with Ratha Chau -- he seems like a very nice guy and he's standing right there.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Ratha's publicist here - I wanted to note that although Kampuchea had

originally been a "noodle bar," Ratha is in the process of changing the name

since his menu has evolved to having only 1/5 noodle dishes.

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When you go, my suggestion is (if you have a couple of people) that you get the pork belly cubes, the sweetbreads, the ribs and that cold noodle soup with shrimp (oh, and the corn! oh, and the mussels!). That's the meal I'd love to hear your feedback on, for purposes of calibrating my own palate and sanity. I mean, I was registering "Momofuku good" in my brain, but what do I know? Also, definitely chat with Ratha Chau -- he seems like a very nice guy and he's standing right there.

Well, finally made it back here last Thursday evening...had kind of a mixed experience. Ratha was not there, at least not noticeably during our dinner.

First off, our service/server was great...no problems, just a slight slowdown as the place started to fill up - we had arrived around 7:15 to a mostly empty restaurant.

For openers, we had the fresh water prawns - they were great and there's nothing like sucking the juice out of the prawn heads...we did wonder, however, what the heck was in the little salad that came with it - there was one ingredient (unidentifiable by me) that was chewy and woody and just should not have been in there.

Our other app was the organic chicken wings (kind of to use as a point of reference to another well-known noodle bar). While they had great exterior flavor, they were overcooked and a bit dry - as if they had been oven roasted first and then thrown on the grill for the final slathering with the five spice chili - with better execution, I think this would have been a wonderful dish (side note - 5 chicken wing halves = $9!).

For mains, we had the tamarind baby backs - which were real baby backs, luscious and delicious - our favorite of the night.

And we had the cold noodle dish with shrimp, pork belly, chives, etc. over chilled flat noodles and a hoisin based sauce. Now, I wanted to love this dish - the shrimp were perfectly cooked, the pork belly was, well - pork belly! But the noodles - oy - were basically one stuck together mass of noodles - it took me 15 minutes to separate the noodles and toss the dish together, which certainly made it more pleasing, but wtf?! This is simply a case of not putting the proper care into how the ingredients are handled...cook the noodles ahead, rinse and then toss with a little peanut or sesame oil and they won't be one big glob of noodles.

So, all in all, I feel this place just falls short of being able to enter that new pantheon of restaurants discussed on this board (NYC)...it's got the right price point, some very interesting ingredients and combos thereof, but just doesn't hit the nail on the head. A little bit more attention to the details, and this place would be one of our regular haunts!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Based on the positive review, I also tried the place this weekend, in this case for lunch with a 10-month old in tow. The place was empty when we arrived around 12:30 and only had a couple of tables taken when we left. The service was good, and they were fine with the little one.

We tried 3 dishes:

Snow pea salad had shredded snow peas and pea sprouts with crispy Chinese sausage with a nice lighly spicy dressing. This was good and elegant, although not very substantial by its nature.

Bershire pork from the grill was sweet and charred from the honey marinade and came with the mixed pickles. Excellent meat, with good texture for a quick-cooked version of pork leg.

The prawn crepe was a little dry on its own, but was nice with the spicy fish sauce in a lettuce leaf. I'm sure you could do as well in a good Vietnamese place, but it was solid.

All-in, the tab was reasonable, $43 with a watermelon juice, including tax and tip. I'd say the place is a lot like Spice Market, food-wise (and I like the food there for the most part), without the hype or hassle. There is plenty more I'd like to try, so I'll go back soon.

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If you had the misfortune of dining at Kampuchea tonight, you may have noticed that the house chili-lime-tomatillo hot sauce was a little off. That’s because I was entrusted with its production. I spent the day with Ratha Chau and his chef de cuisine, Scott Burnett, at Kampuchea today and only screwed up a few things. I also came away even more of a zealot for Kampuchea than before.

The hot sauce starts with whole limes, peeled but with some of the white part of the rind left on (this adds a little desirable bitterness to the finished sauce). The limes are liquefied in a blender (this requires a lot of pulsing and knocking around of the blender, because Ratha is adamantly opposed to adding any water). Then a fistful of whole little green birdseye peppers, also pureed. Then several whole tomatillos, also blended into the mixture. This all gets repeated until you have a bucket of the stuff, then you leave a cup or so of the stuff in the blender and add garlic, ginger, mint and red onion, and combine that with the main batch. Then a lot of salt and a little bit of sugar.

The sauce is great when fresh out of the blender, and about an hour later the flavors meld into a more unified sauce. If I’m ever called upon to make a gallon of hot sauce, I now know I’ll be able to do it. The hot sauce isn’t something Kampuchea sells as part of any dish. They just give it to you as a condiment on the table if you want hot sauce.

Time and again today I saw food being prepared with extraordinary integrity. For example, the “house dressing” aka the dipping sauce you get with one of those crepes: this is something where, going into the situation, my palate just wasn’t well versed enough to identify the difference between a commercial sauce and one made at the restaurant. You could have served me something from a can and I’d have been happy, as I have I’m sure been at plenty of restaurants. But now that I’ve tasted the difference and seen how it’s made, I never want to go back.

The house dressing starts with fish sauce, plus vinegar, water, garlic, ginger and salt. That’s all simmered for three or four hours. After it’s cooled, they add shredded green mango, shredded carrots and fresh chopped garlic, ginger and red onions. Then, for service, it’s given a shot of lime juice.

The quality of ingredients coming in the back of Kampuchea is first-rate, exceeding what you'd get at plenty of starred restaurants (Kampuchea, I assume, will get $25 and Under treatment if and when it gets reviewed). For example, the seafood comes from Down East Seafood, one of the best restaurant suppliers. I'm not sure there's another restaurant at Kampuchea's price point using Down East and equivalent suppliers for vegetables, meat, etc. Surely not the restaurants in Chinatown.

Probably the most impressive thing I saw, however, was the stock-making operation. Because I actually know something about stock, I’m in a better position to evaluate this aspect of the prep than any other. The Kampuchea chicken stock is the most concentrated, extracted chicken stock I’ve ever had in a restaurant. It’s a double stock, meaning that first chicken is simmered in water, then that chicken is removed and new chicken is added, which is then simmered in the stock to create a double stock. But this double stock also is made with a very low ratio of water to chicken parts, so it’s super rich. In the giant stockpot, for the first round, goes 200 pounds of chicken parts (5 x 40-pound buckets), with water just barely to cover. No mirepoix or anything in this step. For the second simmering, 120 pounds of chicken parts are used, along with onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and celery. That’s just one stock for one day of this tiny restaurant’s operations – they also make a beef stock and a vegetable stock.

The chicken soup that results from this double stock is amazing. If you didn’t see the stock being made, you’d be tempted to say the richness and concentration of the broth was achieved through some sort of trickery. It isn’t. All you’re getting in the chicken soup is that super-rich broth garnished with a little lime-leaf oil (plus the noodles, chicken meat and various other things).

I didn’t try a lot of new dishes today – actually for lunch we had Dominican food nearby – but one dish I did get to sample (aside from the chicken soup) was the butter filet mignon. This is a piece of rare tenderloin served cold, pounded thin and drizzled with a little butter. It’s served under a salad of green mango, cilantro, crispy shallots, and scallions sautéed with red onion, garlic and ginger, all dressed with fish sauce, soy sauce, lime and olive oil. Also, on the side of the plate, some of the house chili sauce (not the same as the hot sauce I made).

I chatted at length with Ratha Chau about what he’s trying to do at Kampuchea, and he’s well aware that he had a weak opening (I believe his word was “hellish”). His background is as a front-of-the-house manager, not as a kitchen manager, so his learning curve was steep. And the concept of the restaurant has evolved into less of a noodle bar and more of a postmodern Asian street food orientation. There’s little question in my mind that, given the earnestness, integrity and competence of Ratha, Scott and the rest of the team, Kampuchea will continue to improve and gain back the media credibility that was lost at opening time, and then some.

Now, if you’ve read this far, I’m going to tell you a secret. This is a hardcore underground gourmet secret. Don’t tell Ben Leventhal. Don’t tell Mr. Cutlets. Don’t tell PETA. This isn’t supposed to get out:

Kampuchea has a small, occasional supply of embryonic duck eggs – in other words, duck eggs that are almost but not quite hatched. In one of the most extreme eating experiences of my life, I ate one tonight. It was an alarming, disorienting, wonderful, delicious, disgusting, awe-inspiring, remorseful, celebratory moment. The egg was poached, the top cut off and a little lime and vinegar dressing added. I won’t go into an exact description of the taste, texture and appearance – part of the joy and horror of this experience is the surprise of it all.

Every cook in the restaurant has gone through this Cambodian hazing ritual, which if you can handle without passing out earns you the title of “Honorary Cambodian.” If you call Ratha and arrange it in advance, and swear yourself to secrecy, he may be willing prepare one of these eggs for you. Again, don’t tell anyone.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Time and again today I saw food being prepared with extraordinary integrity.

All well and good, Fat Guy, but then why did my noodles taste like they were prepared by a 6 year old? And what the hell was in the little salad that accompanied my shrimp?

You make a lot of nice points about their stock making operation, their in house dressings, etc. What do they do to the damn noodles?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Well, Ratha does have a two-year-old . . . .

It truly baffles me. I can think of two possibilities: 1- The restaurant screwed up, or 2- You're nuts. (Or maybe both of those things are true!) Seriously, I watched the preparation of many noodles. They get the noodles from various Asian suppliers. They have two water baths going in the kitchen -- one with boiling water to cook the noodles and one with very hot water to rinse the starch from the noodles. For the flat noodles for that dish you're talking about, they boil, they rinse, they tranfer the noodles to a Cambro square tub, they dose it with oil and toss, and that's the end of it.

I totally forgot to ask about the woody thing you got in the garnish. I do think it's still a young restaurant prone to make mistakes. There is a lot of prep going on there: many, many steps and techniques, and a total staff smaller than the dishwashing crew at Buddakan. It would not surprise me to see a step forgotten here and there, only six or so months in. But these people aren't hobbyists. Whatever the peak level of performance is, they'll get to it, I think.

One thing I noted in reading your description of that noodle dish, though, is that you were trying to mix and combine the ingredients. That particular dish is intentionally a deconstructed dish and isn't meant to be mixed. That wouldn't explain gluey noodles; then again I had the opposite issue: the noodles were so slippery it was hard for me to get a handle on them.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Really interesting piece on Salon.com a few days ago by Matthew Fishbane (no I'd never heard of him either, but based on this sample it seems his food writing is quite good) titled "Will Cambodian food ever catch on in America?" He talks to Ratha Chau and also gives some information on the fate (still undetermined) of the Cambodian Cuisine restaurant that's supposed to be relocating from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

In New York, transplanted Hong Kong hands have a couple of Chinatowns to choose from. Colombians can head out to Queens for an oblea caramel wafer and yucca bread under the elevated train tracks. Eastern Europeans longing for a borscht can ride the F train to Brighton Beach. West Africans have the Bronx, North Africans have the East Village -- and even the Bukharians, the Sephardim of the Silk Road, can find home cooking out in Rego Park. But for Cambodians (and nostalgic travelers like me), a taste of home remains elusive.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well, Ratha does have a two-year-old . . . .

It truly baffles me. I can think of two possibilities: 1- The restaurant screwed up, or 2- You're nuts. (Or maybe both of those things are true!)

Well, I'm nuts, but... :laugh:. A little bit of both, perhaps.

I really want this place to be as great as it can be!!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Correct. Kampuchea is a tiny restaurant (900 square feet, plus a downstairs prep area), so there aren't many places to be alone. Ratha and Scott often go over to El Castillo de Jagua for a late lunch, in order to meet in private. In addition to having pretty good Latin food, El Castillo de Jagua makes a mean tuna sandwich.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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