Rochester’s got a lot of hole-in-the-wall eateries, which range from being the most bomb secrets the city has to absolute garbage, depending on where you go. I’ve been lucky enough so far to mostly stop in at pretty good ones, and a few of these are near the College Town area andt don’t take too much effort to walk to.
One of those places is a little Cambodian shop that’s slowly becoming a mainstay in my diet, due to the encouragement of one of my suitemates. The place is called the Soup Spoon, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about it.
For being one of the best restaurants in College Town, the Soup Spoon is surprisingly well hidden.If you’ve ever seen the little four-way intersection between the Starbucks and the frozen yogurt place there, the Soup Spoon is located right off the road that leads to the parking lot behind Starbucks. It’s on the same block as the frozen yogurt shop, but it’s back from the main road a bit, making it seem like some inconspicuous store room for the frozen yogurt place.
Sure enough, though, if you walk up toward this hidden corner, there’s a well-lit sign that reads “The Soup Spoon,” and a glass-walled lobby waiting for your entrance.
Right off the bat, the Soup Spoon makes you feel welcome, with its clean, slick Cambodian-style furniture and lighting. It also helps that the spices and steam emanating off of every plate in the place will clear up your nose like the next Vic’s rubbing cream.
After taking in the feel of the place, you’ll be seated at any one of the very limited spots in the shop and brought a tea menu to pick a pre-meal drink from. If you want a recommendation, I’d say to give either the rose melange (a flowery, herbal tea) or the masala chai (a spicy, cloudy tea) a try.
The menu for your meal comes soon after, with a list of appetizers including East Asian classics like spring rolls and edamame. The entrees are pretty varied, but I’ve got three real recommendations for you to try out (at about $10 each): the chicken curry, the curry fried rice, or the Cambodian loco moco.
The chicken curry is a perfectly fitting spicy curry plate, one that doesn’t require a drive all the way to Tandoor of India in Henrietta. The curry fried rice is just a far bigger, but far less creamy, version of the chicken curry plate, but still earns its own merit. Now the Cambodian loco moco is the only plate out of these that I haven’t eaten myself, but that has impressed me just by sight (thanks to my suitemate ordering it). The loco moco is a lovely stack of jasmine race, a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and The Soup Spoon’s own hot sauce right on top. It’s a take on a Hawaiian meal of a similar style, but the Soup Spoon owns it, and makes it unique to them here in Rochester.
After you’ve finished your hefty meal, you can go ahead and order dessert if you’d like. For dessert, they’ve got a plate called num ansom, a sweet sticky rice mixed with banana and jackfruit, packed into a banana leaf. It’s not a very rich, or overwhelming desert, which makes it a nice touch on top of the many creamy and spicy plates that The Soup Spoon has to offer.
And that’s the Soup Spoon. It’s not very far from campus, you could walk there, or you could take the Blue Line there if it’s gotten particularly cold outside. It’s a small place, but it’s got a lot of heart, and it shows in the service, the decor, and the food. Give it a try sometime before finals: It’ll help get your nerves sorted out and your brain ticking for that final stretch at the end of the semester. And when you get back next semester, I’ll have some more places to tell you all about.