Did my cold dim my taste buds this much? Or is Carambola's "Cambodian" food really this short on flavor?
Unjustified optimism had me hoping that this place would deliver the real deal. Alas, the softened edges of most of the dishes we tried made me wish that I had opted for Floating Rock instead of the more expensive and much-less-thrilling Carambola in Waltham.
The first bad sign was that the kitchen staff all spoke Spanish to one another. Of course, I didn't consider this to be prohibitive of a good meal. Just a bad sign.
None of the food was bad. It was all just fine. It's just that most of it hovered on the wrong side of bland.
A caramelized catfish dish (tonle sap) that left me longing for Nam Vang's far superior dish (Ca Kho To).
A soft shell crab salad (Kon Kdam) that made no use of the barely discernable flavor of the crabs.
A dish of cubed beef (Loc Lac) that was so short on flavor that even the lime dipping sauce couldn't rescue it.
The one exception was the soup (Somlah Machou) -- a sour chicken broth with shrimp. Very flavorful. Quite good.
Finally, the "Elephant Walk Famous Spring Rolls" are undeservedly so.
Good wine list, though.