A while ago, I read that the Cambodian soup Pho has become all the rage in many metropolitan areas, and I’ve been anxious to try it. Yesterday, friend Marci Diehl and I happened upon the grand opening day of a new restaurant in Victor, NY called The Soup Spoon that specializes in this Cambodian delicacy.
The family-owned restaurant, run by Chhaya En, brother Steven En and cousin Choranay Hem serves a combination of Cambodian Pho, French onion soup, chili, Asian-inspired appetizers and Num Pang (traditional Cambodian sandwiches). Tea, locally-roasted Finger Lakes Coffee, soda and desserts made by Gourmet Goodies round out The Soup Spoon’s menu. The attractive, tranquil and tastefully decorated restaurant includes both comfy chairs in which to relax as well as tables at which to work or dine, making it a welcoming place for lunch, dinner or to pop in for a cup of coffee.
I always enjoy hearing the story behind a new business and Chhaya shared that the restaurant has been a long-time dream, but that they hadn’t planned to open it quite so soon. When the space became available on Main Street, they jumped at the opportunity. Preparations to open were a bit challenging since the birth of his and wife Bri’s new son, Alexander Neakeera coincided. Chhaya laughs as he tells me the real CEO of the organization is his three-week-old son, whose middle name means “boy dragon,” referring to the sign of the Asian zodiac under which he was born (surely a good omen!).
Not knowing anything about Pho, I learned that it is a designer soup where you create your own meal. Tasty steamed rice noodles are bathed in home-made beef broth. You determine what meat is added – shrimp, beef, meatballs or a combination of the three. On the table is a condiment tray with dried onions, sugar and pepper, as well as a generous bottle of hot sauce. A tray is brought with lemon wedges, bean sprouts, cilantro and green onions. We were encouraged to add a bit of each condiment to the soup, but I passed on the hot sauce. We started with an order of spring rolls that were made with fresh tasty veggies wrapped in rice paper. We had the option of dipping them in two different sauces – one sweet and one zesty. When I tasted the soup, I was almost tempted to add no additional ingredients, but I wanted “the Pho experience,” so I added a bit of this and a dash of that until I arrived at a taste that was simply delectable! Our bill for two Phos (one with shrimp, one with beef) two sodas and a shared appetizer of two spring rolls each (which left us both pleasantly full) came to a very reasonable $26 total.
The Soup Spoon is located on the lower level of 10 Main Street in Victor and it is open Monday and Tuesday from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM, Friday from 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM, Saturday from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
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All photos and text copyright 2012 © Carol White Llewellyn.