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Cadillac Restaurant - Easy Ridin'

By: Roland Scarlett Posted: November-05-2011 in
Cadillac's Delicious Burger
Roland Scarlett

Cadillac’s comfortable chairs and laughs spill out onto the riverfront pavement to let you know this is the sort of place to go for an unpretentious, good quality meal. Inside, a mostly American and Australian crowd sit for beers, chow down on home-comfort food, or watch sports on one of the two TVs positioned above the bar. The quirky décor mixes well with the chipper music selection to create a feeling of easy-going homeliness.

Cadillac is the type of place to go to when you need a break from the foreignness of living in Cambodia. When the gritty streets, humid air, and unidentifiable ‘meat’ becomes a bit much, Cadillac is a slice of small-town America. The clientele is friendly, the bar staff are too. The whole place is low-key, and the food is reassuringly recognizable and tasty.

Kenny, the restaurant’s friendly manager, was born and raised in Houston and set up his first place aged 20 – he’s been involved in restaurants and bars in the US his whole life. As with many Phnom Penh expats, he came to the Kingdom three years ago to visit a friend, and ended up staying.

We started with a salad, and the shrimp beignets. Perhaps a little heavier than back in the States, they were served with a killer lime sauce. It's indispensable for the dish, and makes it a go-to choice for appetizers at Cadillac.

Our next dish was a chicken and ham gumbo, with lots of veggies to boot. Gumbo is a dish hailing from Louisiana, a thick gravy soup filled with vegetables and meat. Often gumbo relies on its salty and spicy flavours, but at Cadillac the amount of meat was generous and the overall feel of the dish hearty. I receded back from the streets of Phnom Penh into a feeling of sleepy food-induced contentment.

Given the plethora of Deep South foods available, I’m almost guilty to admit that our favourite dish was the killer mushroom & Swiss-cheese burger, which was delicious. The tomatoes, lettuce, and onions were all fresh and crisp, and the sweet flavour of the tomatoes lent it all a natural sweetness. The burger was perfectly cooked, and the meat held some secrets ground-in. We tried to persuade Kenny to tell us what he’d mixed in, but it’s a closely-guarded secret.

Two pieces of Chicken-Fried Steak with country gravy were heaped onto a plate with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes on the side. The mashed potato. The serving size was huge: it overflowed the plate, and would easily be an entree for two. Lots of times when you have chicken-fried steak, the whole assembly is a little limp or even soggy, but ours was solid and crispy the whole way through.

The entire meal was finished off with a delicious Bourbon-Pecan Pie. Kenny comes over and we chat lazily, happy with our feast. We express our amazement at the size of the portions, and he tells us he wouldn’t want anyone to go away feeling hungry. Quite so. It’s exactly this hospitable attitude that makes Cadillac a good place to visit when you need a break from the hectic streets.

Additional reporting from Dan Korn

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