The focus of many a bleeding-edge eater this week was Kampuchea, which opened softly late last week and is certainly still tweaking. As one might expect with a venue that pre-open had drawn comparisons to Momofuku, there is no shortage of very early analysis. The buzz in aggregate has been that the venue shows great promise but service and and flavor issues need to be addressed. Here now, a sampling of the good news and the bad news.
1) Good News: At eGullet, the wolves have not descended. Instead, "[w]ell, 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. [eGullet]
2) Good News/Bad News: Chowhound is where things start to take a turn. "[M]y bowl of stew, for the price ($16 for the oxtail), seemed awfully small, but the stew is thick and comes laden with sprouts, lime, and cilantro. i haven't had much cambodian food in my time, to be honest, but i expected the flavors to be pretty aggressive and spicy; instead, the soup had the sort of one-note Heartiness that you expect from a stew--regardless of its national origin. the meat was fine and fatty, and there was enough of it by volume to keep me from feeling insulted, but i'm not convinced it's worth $16, either. the party next to us was getting pretty into their crepe, so that may be a better angle. [Chowhound]
3) Bad News: Chowmaster, one of the newer gastro-bloggers out there really -- really -- was not pleased. "I don’t want to rip on a guy because he is trying to do something new, but his food was pretty much the worst I have had since I was institutionalized with Linda Hamilton during her T2 training. As explained, the Berkshire pork crepe should be eaten more like a lettuce wrap from PF Chang’s. I did just that and thought the food was just edible, but definitely not enjoyable. [Chowmaster]