10 Sisowath Quay
Tel: 023 215 179
Hipster sushi makes up roughly 80% of the diets of Northern Californians, and I'm pleased to announce that Phnom Penh now has an entry into the field. Restaurant chain Metro has opened a sushi outpost next to Harem Shisha Bar and the Riverhouse Lounge, with sushi and Japanese specialities added on to the standard Metro menu.
The dark, moody, and aggressively hip decor - yes, I'll mention the Angry Monk Kid painting in the back corner, let's stop talking about it now - is set off by extremely attractive and somewhat attentive wait-staff. Where Rahu really shines is after 11:00 PM, when the sushi menu is discounted by 50%. In fact, I've never actually eaten at Rahu before the discount hit.
In a city where late-night food can be limited—if you're not brave enough to risk food stalls and gastrointestinal ruin—this late night sushi can be something of a blessing, especially if you're not really that into greasy hangover prevention chow. Rolls top out at around $5 and most are in the $3.50 area. It's a pretty good deal for the tastiest sushi I've had in town. The menu is not particularly extensive, but all the bases are covered, with sushi rolls, sashimi, and some other Japanese classics on offer.
The spicy salmon rolls are my favorite here. The legitimately spicy salmon interior is wrapped in rice which is studded with small, crispy tempura bits. It's finished with a not-excessive drizzle of wasabi mayo and is really a pretty perfect light meal or late-night snack. I used to bitch about California sushi's obsession with sauces, but now I miss them. A lot.
The simple tuna roll is executed beautifully here - fresh tuna, perfectly rolled, seaweed that isn't too chewy. No sauces to accompany here, which is as it should be for one of Japanese cuisine's more perfectly simple creations.
Salmon, asparagus, and cream cheese is another classic California-style roll that is just about impossible to find in Cambodia. I really like this roll - creamy cheese, some subtlety unctuous salmon, a bit of green onion, some crisp asparagus, and a smidgen of spicy sauce. Rich without making you feel sort of awful about yourself. Which is not the point of sushi.
There's also beef with red ants rolls on the menu. These are especially fun if you can order these when your friend is in the bathroom, than pass it off as something totally benign. That joke never gets old.
Don't forget to ask the waitstaff to bring you some of Rahu's home-made potato chips to go with your sushi and alcoholic beverages. They're seasoned with something delicious and are, in my opinion, far superior to the sweet n' salty peanuts usually on offer with beer in Cambodia.
Be aware that a service charge is tacked onto the bill whether you like it or not - keep this in mind before embarking on some sort of PM sushi binge. It's true that Rahu would be somewhat obnoxiously chic if it wasn't here, but as things currently stand in PP, it's kinda nice to be able to get California-style sushi late at night at an aggressively hip restaurant where the waitstaff aren't particularly nice to you. It reminds me of home.