78 Rivington Street on Allen
about $50, without drinks, with tip
It was a balmy, summer evening. We thought ordering a bowl of noodles was just appropriate. Upon entering Kampuchea Noodle Bar, I surely felt like being in Asia. It was hot and humid, but a faint breeze coming from the outside made everything comfortable inside. The restaurant details, from the glass mugs to the dim lights, romanticize everything on the menu. That’s a good thing because the food can’t hold its own.
We started with the crisp pork belly. They were a little sweet for my taste, but it’s hard for me to turn down fried fat. It reminded me of Fatty Crab’s better-executed version, served with chunks of watermelon. The pickle plate was very spicy but addicting at the same time. It made me wonder if there was a Korean back in the kitchen. My bowl of vermicelli was good enough to satisfy an Asian taste craving I was having, but the Dr. hated his bowl of duck soup because it was too oily. We both felt that the noodles needed some more love because their consistency felt like they were prepared carelessly.
The wooden communal tables and the mostly beautiful diners reminded me of Momofuku but with a sexier address. In terms of food, however, Momofuku it wasn’t.