When appealing to a new demographic, it's important to not alienate your base, which is why Sting still peppers his sets with Police hits, and Mel Gibson hits police officers with Mad Max anecdotes before getting mad at Jews. Shifting from pho to Cambodian dishes without completely abandoning the rest of Southeast Asia, Kavei.
Expanding the meager Philly options for authentic Cambodian, the guy behind Thai Orchid and Cafe de Laos transformed the former Pho 488 on Oregon Ave into Kavei, an airy, 120-seat white tablecloth BYO where crystal chandeliers shimmer against pumpkin shaded walls and patrons can choose from a full menu of traditional Cambodian fare along with dishes native to neighboring Laos and Thailand, plus everything that was available at 488 as well, marking a decisive victory for the old joint's faithful, pho sho'. Cambodian grub's the focus, including starters like marinated chicken w/ coconut milk, red curry & peanut sauce (Sach Moan Changkak); soups like a sweet & sour Khmer-style mix of pineapple, tomatoes, tilapia & shrimp; cha (stir fries), including a spiced frog leg dish called Kang-keb Cha Kroeung; and regional specialties like a Khmer-seasoned, coconut milk-doused tilapia (served in a banana leaf cup) known as Amok, that runs...about nine bucks. Laotian dishes include apps like Sai Krong (stuffed char-grilled pork sausage), and delicacies like the Gai Ping Vientiane BBQ of Cornish hen, while Thai options include a trio of curries (green, Musaman, Panaeng), a sauteed seafood medley focused on lobster tail in spicy basil garlic sauce, as well as Moo Pad Phet: marinated pork loin w/ peppercorn, ginger & eggplant prepared "jungle style" -- so, mixed with grain and energy drinks in a trash can and served to freshmen? Party.
To pacify 488's former clientele, Kavei's still slingin' seven vermicelli bowls, a quartet of rice plates, and 17 pho options, plus Vietnamese specialties like lemongrass beef soup (Bun Bo Hue) and Khong Thit, or meatless pho -- although it still uses a beef stock, leaving it not exactly ideal for those who don't stand so close to meat.