Battambang + The Sweet Booth, Oakland
Last night we were headed to a show near Jack London Square and stopped first for dinner at Battambang. He's a vegetarian and I'm not, and there were plenty of choices for both of us on the extensive menu. We split the avocado spring rolls as an appetizer, then I got the Nam Banchev, a Cambodian banh xeo equivalent with ground chicken in a rice flour crepe and he had the Kary Towhoo (cube tofu, green beans and yam in a coconut curry).
The Nam Banchev was great, with a pleasant funk from the sauce and a beautiful light texture to the egg shell, with just the slightest crunch at the edges. I added chili paste from the jar on our table. I tasted a bit of his curry, but it was a bit too sweet and flat for me -- he asked for it to be quite spicy but not maximum spicy. It wasn't spicy at all. The avoado rolls were generously packed rolls that made for a good hand-held salad starter. I would order both the avocado roll and nam banchev again.
They were out of all of their desserts save for one that didn't appeal, and we still had time to kill before the show, so we stopped into The Sweet Booth for dessert. We split a mango custard. I was expecting something more creamy or coconutty--instead this was like a mango jello salad, with big chunks of fresh mango in a rigid gelatin structure that held its shape against an onslaught from the spoon. I liked the fresh mango, wasn't crazy about the hard jello texture.