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Reader mail: A report on Phnom Penh

posted on July 18, 2008 at 6:06 am
BG Reader, Nicci Robertson (whose fresh mangosteen find you may remember from May) has sent in the following report on Phnom Penh (4059 Lawrenceville Hwy., Tucker, 770 493-3598):
After reading a review about Phnom Penh in Atlanta Cuisine, we met a couple of friends who live in Tucker for dinner this evening. We were in Cambodia a few years back and were looking forward to trying some authentic Cambodian fare. It was really wonderful and we have made plans to return again next week. The drive is somewhat of a big deal for us since we live in Brookhaven, just minutes to the plethora restaurants on Buford Hwy and Buckhead. I have to say that it is really worth it because I have not seen many of the menu items anywhere else in Atlanta and the food is very good. It’s small and has very simple décor…somewhat of a hole in the wall. Friendly family owned place with pleasant service, unlike the bizarre comments mentioned in the review.

We ordered the green papaya salad, mango salad, shrimp spring rolls (I know these 3 are found in other Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, but these salads are very different here and have a more pungent flavor…ingredients include shrimp paste and dried whole tiny shrimp), fried whole quail with black pepper dipping sauce, grilled beef sticks with rice, richly flavored Red Coconut Curry sauce with tilapia and onions and a crepe/omelette stuffed with ground chicken and bean sprouts accompanied by lettuce and basil for wrapping. There were two fish sauces for dipping, one with lime, sugar and garlic and the other was the same with addition of roasted peanuts. I was not crazy about the salads since I am not a big fan of shrimp paste, but everyone else liked them. Next week we’ll order some different items. I highly recommend that you check out this restaurant when you get a chance. It is open 11am-10pm Mon-Sat.

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4 comments

  • Re: Reader mail: A report on Phnom Penh
    posted by: Lucas · July 19, 2008  1:16 PM

    I went last night with friends. I had the Fish Amok, fried quail, beef and chicken skewers and something like Pad Thai, of which the name is escaping me. Except the chicken skewers, not bad but not great, everything was excellent. The Amok was obscene. The beef skewers were meaty, juicy and flavorful. The noodle dish was excellent and the quail, a first for me, was great and enhanced nicely by the dipping sauce. Service was very friendly and didn’t take long at all. We weren’t finished with our appetizers when the dinner dishes were ready. Worth the drive!

  • Re: Reader mail: A report on Phnom Penh
    posted by: Anonymous · July 30, 2008  8:02 AM

    We went there two weekends ago for an early dinner, and had a really good time. The service was excellent, agreed the place is a hole in the wall joint, but the food is phenomenal and totally makes up for any language, location or other such shortcomings.

    The Spring (Summer) Rolls which we ordered for appetizers were fresh and a perfect start to dinner, I really liked the light sweet/sour dipping sauce that came along with the dish as it complimented the rolls instead of the cloyingly sweet sauces you often get at some Vietnamese/Thai joints. The Beef Sticks/Skewers (4 skewers) are a must have, this dish single handedly makes the trip worth it; it comes with a side of Raw Papaya salad (really good) which also complimented the juicy, well flavored beef skewers. I liked the Fish Amok better than the Spicy Catfish, but that does not mean that the Catfish was anything but excellent. I think I just couldn’t do as much justice to the Spicy Catfish as there was way too much food (large ample helpings especially of the fish dishes, which was a bit surprising as I wasn’t expecting the fish dishes to be as big given that they were all priced below $10). There were three of us, and all three of us came hungry and with big appetites and yet we thought we had ordered enough for four. Coming back to the Fish Amok the spicy red coconut curry sauce was different from a lot of the usual Thai red coconut curry sauces, it was thicker and had a lot more flavor packed in (I like my curry to coat every morsel of rice versus just lurking at the bottom of the plate and not imparting any flavor to the rice). I almost forgot the soup, it was a simple chicken coconut milk soup, served between courses and a good palette cleanser. We ended the meal with a fresh, sweet watermelon slices a nice complimentary surprise brought out with the bill.

    I’m intrigued what more do you and your other readers have to say about this place and the food, and how does it compare to other Cambodian restaurants (do we have any other Cambodian restaurants in the city or the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area?). Also, how authentic did you find the food in comparison to the stuff you had when you were in Cambodia. – R.

  • Re: Reader mail: A report on Phnom Penh
    posted by: MarrG · September 8, 2009  6:34 AM

    Took a group of 10 there last month and we enjoyed the food. Loved the crepes. Lots to eat but not expensive at all. Be careful – the sign outside says "Beef Stix" so it's easy to miss.

  • Re: Reader mail: A report on Phnom Penh
    posted by: Chad · October 4, 2010  8:22 PM

    Good news! Phnom Penh has finally re-opened at 4800 Lawrenceville Hwy NW in Lilburn

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