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Elephant Walk: Festive French/Cambodian fusion close to campus

Restaurant Review: Elephant Walk

Finding a restaurant for an event can be a surprisingly difficult task (I know, first world problems). Ten friends and I were recently on the hunt for a good birthday dinner establishment, a search complicated by the birthday girl’s complete indifference as to the type of cuisine we were to consume. The perfect choice is certainly more elusive when any eatery in the Boston area is a contender.

The restaurant had to fulfill certain criteria in order to be suitable for our birthday bash. While it had to be nice enough to distinguish the event from a more commonplace outing, it also had to be priced within the limits of our college student budgets. The place needed enough options to satisfy the varied cravings of our large party and accommodate for a pescatarian (me!) and a vegetarian. Walking distance from campus was a must-have, as a long trek in the cold was none too appealing. And most importantly, it needed to have delicious food.

Source: Yelp.com

Source: Yelp.com

Elephant Walk, a French-Cambodian joint, fit the bill. It is moderately fancy and decently priced; almost every entrée is in the $15 – $20 price range. There is also a $30, 3-course or $34, 4-course prix fixe menu. The restaurant is a 25-minute stroll from campus and is rather fitting for a group of Tufts students, given its name. A gigantic elephant sculpture mounted on the wall across from the entrance makes the theme less than subtle but fun.

The sizable menu classifies dishes as French or Cambodian though most contain elements of the two. My Cambodian green ginger curry contained a mixture of seared tofu and grilled zucchini, squash, asparagus, portabella mushroom, and eggplant. The vegetables were soft enough to be sliced with a fork but firm enough to maintain distinct textures, and the sauce was rich and spicy without being too heavy. I also tasted the French gratin, which offset oozy, creamy gruyère with quinoa and vegetables. A different friend’s “Crêpe au Canard et Champignons,” filled with soy-ginger and tamarind glazed duck, mushroom, scallions, and greens, was a true marriage of French and Cambodian flavors. As a pescatarian, I only sampled the sauce that had spilled out onto the plate, but I would have happily downed a cup of it if given the option. The two cuisines make a lovely couple.

Source: Elephantwalk.com

Source: Elephantwalk.com

The food was also beautifully presented. Three spears of asparagus were balanced atop my tofu vegetable curry, and my side of edamame and brown rice were pyramid-shaped. Better yet, our waiter was incredible. Not only did he answer a multitude of questions and put a candle on my friend’s dessert (an amazing, dense dark chocolate truffle cake), but he also took it upon himself to give us eleven separate checks.

Elephant Walk is the perfect place to go for any special occasion, be it a birthday, a date, or a night on the town.

Ambiance: A-

Service: A-

Food (taste): A- 

Food (presentation): A-

Price: $20/person

Overall: A-

2067 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02140

http://www.elephantwalk.com/

-Alison Sikowitz

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