Restaurant Review: Elephant Walk

Even after living in Boston for 4 full years, there’s always a new restaurant to try. The Elephant Walk had been on my radar for some time, and the opportunity to finally check it out recently arose. The menu is described as French-Cambodian fusion, offering a wide variety of flavors and plate concepts. Read on to see how it fared.

Wine

Being a “50% French” restaurant, this place does boast a comprehensive wine list full of diverse grapes and several organic options. I opted for a French Malbec, as I tend to enjoy this varietal with “exotic” cuisines.

This one had a nice spice to it, with plum sweetness and other fruity notes. It was certainly one of the better Malbec’s that I’ve had, but was not a particularly standout glass of wine.

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Appetizer

Our first course was Dumplings Croustillants Au Porc Epicé, a fancy way to say pork dumplings. They were served with sweet pickles and a sesame hoisin dipping sauce.

These were definitely flavorful, but I think this dish was better in idea than in execution (which you’ll see is a recurring theme with this place).The filling was tasty, but ultra-familiar. The dumplings were a little dry and couldn’t touch the bomb-dot-com ones that you can get just 10 minutes down the road in Chinatown.

I also struggled to pick up on sort of French-Cambodian fusion, as these were straight-up Asian. I will say that the sweet pickles were delicious and a great compliment to the plate.

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Mains

My main course was Crevettes Kep Sur Mer, a sort of shrimp stir fry. Let me tell you that the only “fusion” concept in this dish was the name. Like the dumplings, it was entirely Asian. Sorry, Elephant Walk, but combining two languages in your menu item description does not make the meal a fusion of two gastronomies (…rant over).

After swallowing that pill, I evaluated the dish for what it was: above-average Asian-American food. The best thing about this plate was its sauce – an addictive blend of coconut milk, tamarind, and lemongrass. However, I don’t consider a plate of protein, veggies, and rice doused in sauce to be particularly gourmet.

As far as I’m concerned, this place is able to make a killing by taking inexpensive, bland staple items and covering them in seemingly complex sauces to add flavor. The end-result isn’t horrible, but the dishes just don’t deliver anything “wow”-worthy.

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Nadia ordered Pavé De Saumon, Croquette De Risotto Aux Champignons. In English, this was a pan-seared salmon fillet served with a mushroom-leek rice croquette and asparagus in a sage-butter sauce.

For those who don’t know, butter-and-sage sauce practically makes me jizz, so this dish already had a competitive advantage. I tried a bite of the salmon and found it to be good, but painfully forgettable. The croquette, however, was bursting with flavor and had an awesome crunchy-chewy texture. It might have been the best thing I ate all night.\

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Overall Impressions:

  • Better in concept than execution, but not an utter failure
  • Tasty food with some unique flavors
  • A bit overpriced for the quality

The Verdict:

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