Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Floating Rock


Floating Rock - 144 Shirley Avenue, Revere, MA (Cambodian)

It's hard to admit that NYC isn't always the center of the universe.

Occasionally, however, the facts are incontrovertible. At such times, New Yorkers must simply bow their heads in shame, and submit to the inevitable truth.

Such is the case when it comes to Cambodian cuisine...a soft spot when it comes to NYC's claim to the title of restaurant capitol of the world. For despite our reputation (and what must surely be a decent sized Cambodian community) Cambodian restaurants do not shine in Gotham. Yes, we once had a restaurant known as Cambodian Cuisine...a small joint in Brooklyn known to Chowhounds (despite its out of the way locale.) But the menu was primarily Chinese, with a hit and miss reputation. As of this date, CC has closed...leaving the Cambodian inquisitive with little to nothing to sample...no Angkor Watt specialties, no Ansom Chek, and certainly no Amok. Damn it, we're supposed to have everything. Not true – but thankfully, there's still Massachusetts.

Located in the small town of Revere, one can find Cambodian salvation. The street is known as Shirley Avenue...home to a small treasure trove of Cambodian businesses...including two (count 'em, two) grocery stores...and Floating Rock – a Cambodian restaurant beloved in the annuals of Chowhound.com.

Like many tasty gems, the restaurant known as Floating Rock is pretty small – numbering approximately seven tables, with only the most modest d├ęcor (and a TV in the corner, playing Cambodian videos.) Getting to the bathroom requires a trip through the kitchen, waving to the smiling chefs (who you'll be thanking profusely by the end of the evening.) But the food is more than plentiful, authentic...and they ROCK (depending on the dish.) Among the highlights...ginger marinated mussels, spicy seafood, hot and sour beef...and a mango/seafood salad that rivals even Sriprathai in flavor complexity. Yes, they have issues about the Red Sox. But damn it, Massachusetts has Floating Rock. The dessert menu isn't much to look at, and the prices are average (running $10 per entree or appetizer.) No, it's not dirt cheap, but the entrees are truly flavorful, and authentic - served with warm and friendly service. And that makes it worth the trip – even it if it is five hours or more!

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