For those who have navigated Thai and Vietnamese menus, the fare at Siem Reap will look familiar.
The noodle soup, for example, is what the Vietnamese call pho, served with either beef or seafood and aromatics on the side.
What many know as banh mi is simply known as the pate sandwich at the new Cambodian restaurant, which recently took over the Captain D’s storefront at 375 Georgesville Road.
The 2,400-square-foot restaurant, which seats 70, is just around the corner from the front entrance of the new Hollywood Casino.
Good news for the late-night casino crowd: Siem Reap is open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
The menu has several soups, including two “fondue” hot pots – one traditional, the other curry – that involve fresh vegetables, meat and seafood that are cooked in the hot broth.
At $25.95, they are the most expensive items on the menu but serve four to six people. Most other items are priced less than $10.
Chicken wings take an intriguing direction, as the pieces are deboned, the meat ground and mixed with herbs, and tucked back into the skin before being fried.
The restaurant is run by siblings Nyna, Thoeun, Ry and Roeun Sorn, and brother Pot Suom, whose name was reportedly misspelled during the immigration process.
The restaurant’s name is taken from the capital city in northwestern Cambodia, where the family was raised.
Opening a restaurant wasn’t in the works until sisters Ry and Roeun were laid off from their jobs at a lighting-production facility.
Finding a chef wasn’t difficult: Ry had been a cook all of her life, learning from her mother, and did many private catering events for the local Cambodian community.
Nyna, however, is the only family member who has had previous restaurant experience, working at Ocean Bar & Grill in the Westland Mall.
She is confident in her family and the restaurant.
“I was pretty much optimistic about it because I knew it was going to go well,” she said.
She said the family is working on more exotic dishes – bitter melon stuffed with chicken or pork and pig’s feet stew – that will appeal to Asian diners as well as adventuresome American customers.
“We’ll do special orders if they call in ahead of time.”
For now there is no alcohol, but the family has applied for a full liquor license.
The place is open for lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call 614-279-2903.
There’s a new kind of old-school Chinese restaurant in town.
Jiu Thai, which promises no General Tso’s chicken, orange beef or sweet-and-sour pork, has opened in the Olentangy Plaza.
Ying “Leo” Xia and Emma Bian have decided on a different direction for their restaurant, which has taken over the former Lilly’s storefront 787 Bethel Road.
They’ve opted for more traditional fare, including the red oil beef soup, lamb dumplings and “pork cakes” – sesame bread stuffed with seasoned pork.
Most entrees are in the $8 to $14 range.
Bian said there’s nothing like it in Ohio.
“People, I believe, will drive two, three hours to get this food,” she said.
The couple came to the United States so that Bian could earn her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Findlay.
Meanwhile, Xia worked in restaurants, including Shoku in Grandview Heights.
They have updated the look of the space by painting the interior, installing a new floor and refurbishing the tables.
Incidentally, to avoid any confusion, Thai food is not served at the restaurant, which gets its name from Mount Tai in the Shandong province of China.
Bian said she made a slight adjustment to the spelling because potential customers might not associate Tai with food.
The restaurant is open lunch and dinner hours daily. For more information, call 614-732-5939.