25 June, 2011

Dinner With The Neighbors

As of late I have come across quite a few places that are being deemed "fusion" of two different cultures in their cooking.  Some of them are so outlandish I have started to automatically eliminate "fusion" places from my "to eat" lists.  But then, driving down Hazeldean the other day I saw Phnom Penh Restaurant (named for the capital of Cambodia) featuring Cambodian and Thai food.  I drove past it 3 or 4 more times during the next week or so before I finally decided it was a place I would take a stab at. 

Just walking in I felt like I'd won the lottery.  The decor was so beautiful; dark wooden tables and chairs, beautiful pictures on the walls and lovely combination of hardwood and carpeted floors.  We were seated right away with a high chair for the Sprout.  We didn't waste ANY time getting down to business.  Their menu was quite large, it would have taken me WAY too much time to read through it all, so I asked what their best dish was and ordered it; Golden Chicken; medium.  Scanning through the appetizers there were a couple things that piqued my interest; the fish cakes and the Cambodian spring rolls.  My mister ordered Thai Curry.  I looked around at all the art and went to work...



There was a variety of seating in the place; tables for 2, tables for 4, tables for a whole party...round, square & rectangle.  I'm sure you get the picture.  No matter what size your group is, this place can fit you in comfortably.


By the time I made it back to the table our ice water and lemon was there; two sips later so were our fish cakes and Cambodian spring rolls.

Fish Cakes
I will admit, "Deep fried white fish and vegetables" isn't as descriptive as most people would like when it comes to possibly consuming fried fish.  But, this is where sense of adventure should take over.  In this case it was a risk worth taking.  Does anyone remember "shrimp burgers" that public school lunch offered?  It was that consistency but, OH so much tastier!  We fed the majority of these fish cakes to the Sprout.  My Mister and I each had one, but we couldn't keep up with how fast our son wanted more and more bites of it, so we just cut them up in to small bites gave him a fork and he went TO TOWN.  He ate two whole cakes, some spring roll and tried my entree and the Mister's.  I'm so proud he is as in love with good food as his momma!  I have no idea what the sauce tasted like.  I get ill when I consume refined sugar (table sugar) so when my Mister tried it and told me it was really sweet, I didn't mess with it.  He said it tasted great with the cakes; I'll trust that.

Cambodian Spring Rolls

These spring rolls were SO fabulous!  After my first bite all I could think was I wished there had been MORE than 3 rolls!  The sauce that came with these rolls enhanced the flavor ten fold.  It was savory and sour made out of rice vinegar and peanuts and brought out the sweet in the vegetables and at the same time just made the meat SING!  With both pork and chicken, normally I would have avoided these thinking it would be double heavy to start the meal out, but the manager insisted they were one of the best appetizers he'd ever had.  I completely agree!  Then, the coup de grace of the evening arrived...

Golden Chicken

This entree was suggested to me by the manager as the best entree on the dinner menu.  If I never had another dish in the place, I would go back again and again JUST for this!  The beans added into the lovely spiced curry gave it a sweet twist I didn't expect.  The chicken was SO incredibly tender and the peanuts really made the curry so creamy I was enthralled again and again with each bite I took.  The spice level I asked for was dead on.  Not too hot, not for wimps either.  Perfect...

I will be frequenting this place as often as I can.  Aside from being conveniently located at Terry Fox and Hazeldean just minutes from our home, I can't wait to try every single thing they have on their menus; in between my other "to eats" of course.  If you love a good adventure without having to pay the price of a plane ticket, check out Phnom Penh.  Let me know if you loved it as much as I did...or if you thought it could have been better.  I'd love to hear about your experience either way!  Bon Appetit!!

Phnom Penh Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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