By Katie Doyle, Food Editor
The Elephant Walk, at 900 Beacon St., has been on my radar for a long time, as I’ve passed it countless times on my way to and from the St. Mary’s T stop. While I was intrigued by its offerings of French-Cambodian cuisine, the restaurant always seemed a little lonely during the day, and a glance inside during lunchtime hours usually reveals just a few solitary diners.
However, when I finally decided to try out the restaurant this weekend, I learned appearances can be quite deceptive, in more ways than one. Although The Elephant’s Walk quaint, modest brick exterior suggests small quarters, the restaurant actually boasts an expansive dining room. Despite the sprawling space, though, the venue felt anything but empty. The warm, low lighting emanating from the scarlet and sienna lamps cast an intimate glow throughout the restaurant, providing a pleasant aesthetic contrast to the domed indigo ceiling.
Surprisingly, The Elephant Walk’s finely furnished interior was populated with a diverse collection of diners, clearly enjoying both the restaurant’s casual elegance, a sentiment that was also reflected in the food.
My meal was preceded by a basket of classic French bread, a baguette that was soft and doughy on the inside, but crisp on the outside. Aside from being a tasty nod to the restaurant’s French roots, though, the bread actually turned out to be quite necessary. I arrived at the restaurant quite hungry, and our server was clearly overburdened with all of the full tables, as there was a significant delay to the course of the meal.
Fortunately, when the meal finally arrived, the food made up for the long wait time. I started my meal with the Vegan Rouleaux, or Cambodian spring rolls. The appetizer was just one choice from the restaurant’s varied menu, which sets aside a whole section specifically for vegetarian and vegans. The crispy spring rolls came on a bed of kale, sprouts and Romaine lettuce, an attractive presentation that matched the appetizing flavors of shiitake mushrooms, peanuts, carrots and onions. At $9.50, the price was a little steep, but the portion was especially generous and could have even served as the main meal.
For my entree, I chose the Vegan Curry de Legumes, again one of the six vegetarian and vegan meals highlighted on the menu. The dish was overflowing with vegetables: asparagus, eggplant, baby bok choy, squash, peas and peppers, to which the curry provided a nice dressing of sorts.
While the curry itself was quite rich, as to be expected, I was happy to have a curry dish that I knew for sure was vegan. In most establishments where curry is served, Thai restaurants in particular, fish oil tends to be an inevitable ingredients. Fortunately, this dish was 100 percent vegan, and although the flavors were a bit too poignant for my tastes, it certainly channeled authentic Cambodian flavors. For $17.50, though, make sure you know you like curry before choosing it.
Even though The Elephant Walk is practically on Boston University’s campus, it definitely doesn’t seem like it draws in many students. Most of the patrons were families, young professionals or older couples. That’s probably because the prices tend to be pretty steep: nearly $20 for an entree, after all, is a lot to ask from a college student. But, if you’re looking to have a nice dinner at an upscale restaurant that offers an abundance of unusual, but appetizing, vegan options, The Elephant Walk is certainly worth a visit.