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Sok Sab Bai


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#21 loofahgirl

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:55 AM

Thanks--might've helped if I scrolled down on their Facebook page. Taking over Bara is not a bad thing, in my opinion. They were nice enough in there but service took SO LONG and it wasn't really worth it IMHO.



#22 Jill-O

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:26 PM

It's in the Bara Sushi space: 2625 SE 21st St (it was at the bottom of what they posted on their FB page).


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#23 Jill-O

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:28 PM

This from Eater:  http://pdx.eater.com...-restaurant.php

 

I didn't know he owned that place too...

 

Chef Nyno Thol's been pulling double-duty since the opening of his Cambodian food cart Sok Sab Bai: He's also the owner of Division/Clinton-area sushi spot Bara Sushi.


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#24 Flynn

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:43 PM

GREAT news. I really like their food and have been bumming over them being closed often during the winter.



#25 Neven

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:02 AM

I've been to Sok Sab Bai's restaurant a few times now, and while it's not quite A quality, it could probably use a bit more attention from Portland crowds. I wasn't a *huge* fan of their cart; my experiences there were often inconsistent and a bit of a mixed bag. The restaurant is much the same way, but still, there are things here worth seeking out. Here's what I've had so far:

 

— Pork belly buns. The pork and the toppings are all good, tasty. But the bun is almost certainly out of the freezer, and the value here sucks. $6 for two of the tiniest buns I've ever seen. At Boke Bowl, you get about 4 times more food for $8, and their buns are more demanding to make.

 

— Spicy wings. They're fine, but unexciting. Too small as a portion, and too small to be conveniently eaten. 

 

— Prahok ktis, pork and pickled fermented fish dip. Super good. Every cuisine should have a pork+fish dish (I love lau lau.) The dip is on the dry side (not soupy) but really moist and loaded with candy-like, addictive umami. It's served with good side veggies: green beans, cabbage, all very solid. It's not a ton of food, but it's very satisfying.

 

— Amok trey, fish custard. It's very good. I *think* the one at Mekong Bistro is slightly better, but I might be misremembering it. I wish more Thai places put this on the menu, since it's an interesting dish.

 

— Khmer sausage. Chubby, perfectly charred, perfectly crispy little guys. A bit "dry" (which is normal for rice sausage, I guess) but only in the sense that it crumbles. It's still plenty fatty, and there's lots of good kaeng flavor in there. But then it's served with rice and a mixed green salad. I don't know if folks in Cambodia really eat baby spinach and romaine so much—why does this come with so many meals here? It'd be a lame side to serve with a turkey sandwich, let alone this food. Almost any other veggie option would work better—green beans, carrots, eggplant, cucumber…

 

— The fried banana was underwhelming. The banana wasn't fully ripe, so instead of caramelizing, it just… got hot. A hot banana. Meh.

 

Their menu, signs at the restaurant, and their website push their "Da Sauce". It's a totally fine condiment, but it's not THAT interesting. There are 5 other things on the menu they could be bragging about instead.

 

It's been quiet (…too quiet) the last few times I've gone. Prices are too high. I don't mean too high compared to Best Baguette; I mean compared to Pok Pok or Double Dragon, other places in good locations and with presumably well paid staff. I hope the high prices don't mean they're struggling to make a profit.

 

Maybe I've just ordered wrong a few times. I'll go back to try the soups.



#26 mymil

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 11:42 AM

The soup I had (can't remember which one) was really good, especially with fried shallots. Do they still have a little jar of fried shallots with their condiments? Because those make pretty much everything taste better.



#27 Neven

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 12:31 PM

The soup I had (can't remember which one) was really good, especially with fried shallots. Do they still have a little jar of fried shallots with their condiments? Because those make pretty much everything taste better.

 

There were no condiments available at the table when I've gone. Is there a condiments area somewhere? I didn't see it, and I didn't expect it since they do table service etc. There are few things fried shallots don't improve.



#28 Jill-O

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 02:10 PM

I did notice a cart with various condiments on it - I think you have to ask and they wheel it up and you can choose what you want.


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#29 ExtraMSG

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:22 AM

I've only had one meal there but found it lacking, especially as compared with Mekong Bistro.  Bonus for me is that Mekong has bar hours and parking.  And I go up to that part of 82nd as part of my regular routine (for Popeye's, not lingerie modeling) anyways.  So I'd encourage anyone who likes Sok Sab Bai to give Mekong a try.  Better menu, better execution, better prices, imo.


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#30 Neven

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:53 AM

I've only had one meal there but found it lacking, especially as compared with Mekong Bistro.  Bonus for me is that Mekong has bar hours and parking.  And I go up to that part of 82nd as part of my regular routine (for Popeye's, not lingerie modeling) anyways.  So I'd encourage anyone who likes Sok Sab Bai to give Mekong a try.  Better menu, better execution, better prices, imo.

 

I'm inclined to agree. My only reservation is that Mekong Bistro's menu is a bit overwhelmingly large, but that's more my problem than theirs.

 

P.S. Note that there's also a "Mekong Vietnamese Grill" in Selwood; I've had Google and Apple pull up the wrong one when just searching for "mekong". You want the Cambodian place on 82nd—well, for Cambodian food, anyway.



#31 austinhaas

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:45 PM

Wow. We went to Sok Sab Bai a few months ago and everything was great. I did not think the pork belly buns were frozen; they were excellent. I wonder if they've changed in the meantime. Nobody was in there at all when we were there.

 

Also, we thought the prices were very reasonable. I wonder if that changed, too.

 

They wheeled the cart over for soup, if I recall correctly. 



#32 Flynn

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 12:19 PM

WWeek sings the praises: http://www.wweek.com...ok_sab_bai.html - it's indeed false that it is Portland's only Cambodian restaurant though.

 

I loooved the cart. Having been to the restaurant a few times, I'm still a fan. But I think the expanded menu doesn't have as many knockout dishes as the smaller menu they rotated through at the cart.