To say The Elephant Walk's co-founder Kenthao de Monteiro had an extremely exciting life before opening up the eatery is putting it a bit mildly. The French-educated politician was once an important diplomat in Cambodia, working as the minister of education and vice president of the Cambodian National Assembly and then serving as the Cambodian ambassador to Taiwan.
According to the New York Times, he was working as the ambassador when the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh in 1975. He and his wife, Longteine de Monteiro, lost everything and spent the ensuing years in Taiwan and France, where they opened a restaurant that displayed Longteine's cooking skills. They eventually made their way over to America in the early '90s and opened another restaurant, The Elephant Walk.
The Elephant Walk now serves up traditional Cambodian entrees, such as the cubed beef tenderloin in black-pepper sauce and lemongrass chicken breast, as well as classic French dishes, such as steak in red-wine beef jus. The menu also caters to vegans, vegetarians, and those with gluten allergies. For those who want to learn how to re-create the dishes at home to impress family, friends, and judgmental cats, The Elephant Walk offers cooking classes led by Longteine, her daughter, Nadsa, and French chef G?rard Lopez.
Cuisine Type: Indian fast food
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Metered street parking
Most popular offering: Nanini
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
We have taken the authentic taste of flavorful Indian food and transformed it into an quick-serve, portable format of delivery. It is self-serve and made-to-order so you don't pay for the table service or tips, which in turn results in reasonably priced, flavorful food. We have been featured in a New York Times article series about the changing tastes of American fast food, and have also been featured in the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Phoenix.
What?s the best reaction you?ve ever gotten from a customer?
"Could be the Chipotle of Indian food."
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Its a four-step process at Chutneys. First step: choose from a paratha wrap, rice bowl, or nanini. Second step: choose a vegetarian, chicken, or lamb filling, with few choices in each category. Third step: choose from fresh vegetables to top it. Fourth and final step: choose from a selection of 10 chutneys to customize your flavor.
Before diners even glance at OM’s menu, their eyes feast upon a banquet of Asian art. Colorful Thangka paintings and Buddhist statues handcrafted by more than 50 Nepalese, Tibetan, and Thai artists color the space, and intricate Newar carvings frame the walls and doorways. Upon sitting at one of the bare, rectangular tables, patrons exchange pleasantries with their chairs and read through a menu reflective of the art that surrounds them. For instance, small plates of spicy edamame and veggie spring rolls join full entrees of shrimp pad thai or salmon wrapped in tempura nori. An intricate drink list includes the mandarin kaze (orange vodka spiked with sichuan peppercorn) and the Bangkok julep (a blend of bourbon, elderflower, and mint).
Beneath the dining room, a downstairs lounge hosts a diverse lineup of events. Salsa lessons make use of the dance floor, and vinyl parties enable attendees to trade, sell, or just play their records. DJs take over the turntables on Saturday nights, and a cover band re-creates classic R & B tunes every Tuesday.
The Maharaja's chefs rely on recipes from an era when art and cooking received the royal patronage of great Mughal emperors. Compiled over three generations of research, the menu of traditional Indian cuisine has been modernized to pair with a lavish dining space, that, according to the The Boston Foodie, "is an elegant room floating above Harvard Square with all of the amenities of a perfect dining experience." Ornately detailed wooden chairs surround The Maharaja's sturdy tables, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks the weekly hopscotch tournaments in Harvard Square. Furthermore, a collection of statues—which took three attempts to import from India—watch over the restaurant's guests.
Garlic naan emanates nostril-piquing aromas of fresh garlic and coriander as chefs roast cubes of lamb and bone-in chicken in a tandoor oven that burns hotter than a feverish dragon. Sidestepping meats entirely, the house-made paneer, eggplant, and chickpeas bump elbows with green peas, raisins, and sautéed cashews. Servings of kulfi faluda can sate sweet teeth with scoops of pistachio-flavored ice cream and sweet noodles.
Nubar radiates an assured air that comes from the stewardship of three generations of the Guleserian family. Their contemporary approach to classic cuisine manifests itself in seasonal dishes that have included roasted local haddock with saffron and duck breast with cherries and bok choy. Chefs use ingredients from local farms, fisheries, and bakeries to enhance their creations and cut down on the food's jet lag. Nubar's rooftop garden also enriches warm-weather fare with fresh-picked herbs and vegetables.
Set within the confines of the auspicious Sheraton Commander Hotel, Nubar wraps its guests in sleek lines and soothing hues of brown. Behind a bar made entirely of butter-yellow honey onyx, bartenders shake and stir artisanal spirits into classic or modern cocktails. With a cocktail, local beer, or wine glass in hand, patrons can recline on leather ottomans and admire the linear fireplace that separates the lounge from the dining room. Soft light cascades from wide cylindrical lamps and minimalist candelabras that stretch up the wall.
Judy Rosenberg didn’t set out to be an award-winning chef or an NPR-lauded cookbook author. The owner of Rosie’s Bakery found her calling in 1974 after attending art school and gobbling desserts at some of New York’s finest bakeries, becoming inspired to forge her own batch of sweets. When the staff of a local cheesecake shop got hooked on her homemade cookies, she knew she’d found a recipe for success. Since then, she’s expanded her culinary repertoire to include fudge-nut brownies, bavarian-cream fruit tarts, and more than 14 types of muffins and scones.
Each recipe teems with real, old-fashioned ingredients, such as butter, cream, sugar, and edible monocles. Cakes come in circular layers and rectangular sheets, boasting flavors such as carrot and mocha. Filled with snickerdoodles and chocolate-chip rounds, the cookie lineup conjures more childhood memories than a psychiatrist who rides to work in an ice-cream truck.