The Elephant Walk is sort of old news. Their Cambridge location was the first Elephant Walk opened in 1991, followed by the Boston restaurant in 1994. The chef owners of The Elephant Walk call themselves “the accidental chefs” because before they opened their restaurant, they had a very different lifestyle. Founding Chef Longteine “Nyep” De Monteiro was the wife of a Cambodian diplomat and their family traveled and entertained guests in the Philippines and around the world. In the 1975, the Cambodian government was overthrown by the Khmer Rouge and their family became refugees and moved first to France and later to the United States.”Nyep” decided to use her skills in the kitchen to support their family and the eventually the whole family became involved in what is now these three restaurants. This is the very abbreviated version of their fascinating family history which can be found on their blog linked to their website.
Lauren has been to the Boston location a number of times and thinks it is one of the best restaurants around for vegetarians. They also have vegan and gluten-free options, but you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the food at The Elephant Walk.
The menu is divided between French and Cambodian offerings (also Cambodia was once a protectorate of France). We tried a little of each. We started with the Vegan Rouleaux which is Cambodian spring rolls with shiitake mushroom, noodles, peanut, carrot and onion; served with greens and herbs for wrapping and tuk trey for dipping. These are absolutely delicious!
Something about wrapping the lettuce and bean sprouts around the spring roll makes all the difference. Next, I had the Crevettes Amrita from the Cambodian menu. This is shrimp sautéed in a sweet and spicy Cambodian satay sauce with coriander, cardamom, ginger, peanuts, star anise and lemongrass, with button mushroom, onion and scallion. Sooo good- light but with tons of flavor. From the French menu we tried the Filet de Saisi aux Deux Coulis Pimentes. This is rare, pan-seared tuna loin encrusted with bread crumbs, sliced over spiced red and green chili cream sauces with crisped pear and scallion ravioli- wow! Finally, Lauren had the Napoleon de Tofu et Legumes au Curry which is pan-seared organic tofu slices layered with Asian vegetables in a warm curry sauce. She thinks this a fantastic dish.
Other good news about The Elephant Walk… our waiter was terrific. He had great recommendations and was there when we needed him. I had the feeling that the staff all work really well together. Also, the bill was VERY reasonable. There were four of us and it was only about $65.00!! The only thing that I don’t love about The Elephant Walk is that the interior is a little tired. The location is great for Lauren or anyone doing something around BU or the Fenway. I’d love to retry the one in Cambridge- I was there about fifteen years ago and have never tried the Waltham location. Check out all their menus at www.elephantwalk.com. Also on there website…they offer cooking classes throughout the fall and into the winter. Some of the topics include “Cooking with Fall Vegetables”, “Cambodian Curries”, “Gourmet and Gluten-Free!” and more. All classes are held on Saturdays from 10:30 until 1:30 and include a fabulous lunch.
Looking for good suggestions from you…. places you have tried and loved?? I would love to hear about it!
Robin and Lauren