Cafe Cambodge is a new Cambodian spot in Alphabet City where the music sounds upbeat, cultural and flamenco-like and the lighting is pretty dark making it feel like a bar or easy spot to enjoy drinks. As soon as you step onto this block you hear music from all around and feel a contagious party coming on from the people on the streets and surrounding bars and restaurants. The bar has cute straw materials hanging off the top giving it an Asian style decor to match the menu. The prices here are unforgettable and quite promising. Bottles of wine go for $30, appetizers run under $12 and large sized entrees are under $20. This definitely allows for a casual and relaxing dinner but this also matches the neighborhood. Start with the Roasted Peking Duck & Baby Spinach Salad because it’s not everyday you have access to Peking Duck that’s affordable and not in Chinatown. This salad is a great way to dip into the cuisine and accompanied by oranges, mangos, sesame oil and a hoisin dressing. It’s nutty and fresh and something light. It was a very pleasing dish. The Corn on the Cob comes in three pieces and is doused in coconut milk, scallion and honey. For all you corn lovers, this should get you talking. Peking Duck SaladCorn on the Cob
As for the entrees, they offer one of everything: a pork belly, ahi tuna, red snapper, steak, ox tail, short rib, etc. I mean what else could you possible ask for. I love how many options this menu has without being overwhelming but just so accommodating. Surprisingly the meat outshines the seafood. I thought the Pumpkin Stuffed Tilapia wrapped in a banana leaf with coconut curry would be a killer but it was a bit flavorless and the pumpkin didn’t contribute. The fish itself was cooked nicely but it just needed some lime juice or salt and pepper. Heck, it was still fun to eat and unwrap. The Ahi Tuna was gorgeous, cooked just right and such a generous cut of fish. This also could have used lime juice so just ask.
Braised Short Ribs
The Braised Short Ribs are plated atop port wine sauce, mashed taro root and coconut essence. Again this is all perfectly sized for sharing and will leave you completely full and happy. The meat is so tender you don’t even need to use a knife to peel it away from the bone. The taro root mash is awesome and a great base. It’s like their version of steak and potatoes. The Braised Ox Tail is just as large and the sauce is pretty similar. Therefore, you can’t go wrong with whichever you decide to order. Just pick your preference. Also, be sure to get a side of the honey sticky rice and the coconut rice because you can never eat too much coconut these days.
Cafe Cambodge is the restaurant ideal for the neighbors and the East Village residence. The staff and service couldn’t be more appreciative and helpful when guiding guests through the menu. They are excited and ready to make sure you have a good time which at the end of the day is all that matters how you felt when you left a restaurant. It’s a great spot to head to on the weekend when you make last minute plans and want to avoid long table waits where you can feel calm, collected and enjoy a nice hearty meal.