UPPER EAST SIDE — A new Cambodian restaurant has joined four other neighborhood eateries on the Michelin Guide's list of the most mouth-watering and affordable places in New York City.
Angkor Cambodian Bistro opened at 408 E. 64th St. less than a year ago but it's already caught the eye of the Michelin Guide which named it in this year's Bib Gourmand list — a distinction given to eateries that accomplish both affordability and excellence.
Anonymous inspectors reviewed more than 855 restaurants across the city and picked 28 new restaurants serving two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.
Angkor, owned by Minh Truong and his wife, serves traditional Cambodian fare including curries, noodles and barbecue and fish-based dishes, like grilled amok — fish stuffed with prawns, scallops, and lemongrass wrapped in a banana leaf and topped with red curry sauce.
In an interview with the New York Times, Truong said that he learned how to cook from his mother when he and his family were refugees in Vietnam during the 1970s. Truong worked his way up to chef at French restaurants in the city in the 1980s and most recently ran Thai restaurant Royal Siam in Chelsea.
When he returned to Cambodia a few years ago, his mother taught him more Cambodian dishes and told him it was time to cook his own food, according to the Times.
Truong was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday afternoon.
Angkor is open Mondays from 4:30 to 11 p.m. and Tuesdays through Sundays from 3 to 11 p.m.
Beyoglu, San Matteo, J.G. Melon, and Uva were listed last year and won over inspectors again.
Here's a look at this year's winners:
► Beyoglu, 1431 Third Ave.
The Turkish and Mediterranean-style eatery serves doner kebab; char-grilled octopus with olive oil, lemon and vinegar; and a jumbo shrimp casserole baked with mushrooms, peppers, plum tomatoes and kashkaval cheese, among other traditional Turkish fare.
Beyoglu, owned by restaurateur Orhan Yegen, serves mainly meze, or a selection of small dishes meant to be coupled together.
Its smaller items like the soup of the day, hummus, falafel and salads are priced under $10 each. Daily specials — including the doner kebab and fish, like a char-grilled swordfish kebab — range in price from $14.50 to $17.
It's open from noon to 10:30 p.m. daily.
► San Matteo, 1739 Second Ave.
At San Matteo, gourmet pies — from the classic margherita to buffalo mozzarella — come at just $11 to $20. Calzones (like one stuffed with fresh ricotta, mortadella, salame and homemade mozzarella) and pastas are all priced under $20.
Ciro and Fabio Casella, originally from Salerno, Italy, opened the restaurant in 2010.
It's open Monday through Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m. and noon to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
► J.G. Melon, 1291 Third Ave.
Founded in 1972 by Jack O'Neill, J.G. Melon is a part tavern, part restaurant serving American classics including what Michael Bloomberg called "the best hamburgers in the world."
The menu isn't long. Prices for burgers range from $10.75 to $11.50. Entrees also include a roast rock Cornish hen for $17.75 and a large sirloin steak for $31.75.
It's open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 to 3 a.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 to 4 a.m.
► Uva, 1486 Second Ave.
This Italian wine bar and restaurant serves tapas-style plates including meatballs, bruchetta, cured meats and cheese, as well as larger entrees like grilled shrimp skewers, beef carpaccio, homemade ricotta gnocchi and half-moon shaped ravioli with prosciutto and mozzarella.
Desserts include chocolate truffles with vanilla sauce and whipped cream; and sponge cake and Nutella spirals with hazelnut ice cream and vanilla sauce.
Prices range from $7 to $27.
Uva is open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday. Brunch is served on the weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.