When The Elephant Walk opened in 1991 in a basement of a renovated Union Square police station, it soon became a hit. With two completely different menus (French and Cambodian), the restaurant offers a unique taste.
Chef Nyep and her daughter opened the restaurant after fleeing from the Cambodian Khmer Rouge in 1975. The family first went to France and came to the US a few years later.
When the Somerville location became a near overnight success, they opened the Cambridge location. Today, they are still looking to expand by nine more restaurants nationwide.
When we visited The Elephant Walk one Friday evening, there wasn't an empty seat in the house. From college students to business professionals, the restaurant attracts a varied crowd.
We sampled items from both the Cambodian and French menus. The Rouleaux ($7.95) were tasty spring rolls loaded with ground pork, crushed peanuts, shredded carrots and minced onions. (Many of the entrees/appetizers can be ordered vegetarian with shiitake mushrooms instead of pork).
Other appetizers include Nataing ($7.50), ground pork in a coconut milk, sliced garlic and peanut sauce.
There are four different soups on the Cambodian offerings. We tried the Soupe Phnom-Penh (Kuy Tieu), ($5.95), the traditional Khmer noodle soup with rice noodles, sliced pork, bean sprouts and fried garlic with cilantro and scallions.
We also ordered the Seiche a la Portiragnaise ($8.95), a huge sampling of fresh calamari (not fried) marinated in olive oil and baked with garlic.
For our main entrees, we chose the Cambodian menu. The Poulet a la Citronelle ($14.50) was a light spicy offering of sautéed chicken breast with lemongrass, onions and red peppers topped with peanuts and served with jasmine rice.
The Loc Lac ($16.95) was a sampling of beef tenderloin sautéed in garlic with peppers and mushroom soy sauce with jasmine rice.
The Elephant Walk was a unique find in Cambridge. We look forward to visiting the restaurant again soon.
The Elephant Walk
2067 Mass Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
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Hours: Mon-Thurs: 5 to 10 p.m., Fri: 5 to 11 p.m., Sat. 4:30 to 11 p.m.
Kellie K. Speed is a freelance travel writer and
restaurant reviewer. Her features have been published in various
publications including The Boston Globe, Cahners’ Industrial Distribution
and Graphic Arts Monthly magazines and Reno Air Approach.
Kellie has reviewed numerous first-class hotels and
travel destinations, including Hawaii, California, Arizona, Bermuda and
Mexico, to name a few. She has also traveled internationally to Ireland,
England, France, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Next year, she is
planning a trip to Tahiti.
Since she is from Massachusetts, she will be providing
reviews of local restaurants for Travel-Watch.
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