Sophon, a brand new full-service Cambodian restaurant and bar, has opened in the old Carmelita, Hecho, and Martino’s space at 7314 Greenwood Ave N. Oliver’s Twist owner Karuna Long, who pivoted the craft cocktail bar to a Cambodian restaurant during the pandemic, has realized a longstanding dream of creating a homage to his family and his roots.
“Of course, I’m naming the new restaurant after my mom!” Karuna shared with The Stranger in 2023, “It’s perfect because in Khmer, the word sophon means ‘beauty.’ Our mom embodies that and so much more—she’s a songstress, a classical Khmer ballet dancer, a mom, a nurturer, a healer… She is beauty!”
Starting with their soft opening last night (2/2), Sophon is now up and running. The menu is comprised of updated Khmer dishes like Kroeung Chicken Khmeraage (Kroeung-marinated chicken thighs, potato-cornstarch dredge blend, served with Kroeung aioli, house chili oil, lemon), Cha Tha-Khuon (above, on right: stir-fried morning glory, salted beans, fried shallots, crispy pork), and Kram Rmeas Sach Chrouk (the highlight of the meal and pictured above on the left: eggplant stuffed with cauliflower pickled fresno chiles, crispy shallots, and scallion chiffonade).
We went with pescatarian friends and there was plenty of options – most dishes have a vegan option and many are naturally gluten-free. There’s a wonderful reliance on spices due to the Indian influence on Khmer culture, including cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and turmeric. Everything our party enjoyed was very rustic and hearty, and laced with the aforementioned spices, dried fish and shrimp, dried shrimp, and fermented shrimp and fish pastes like prahok. All dishes seemed to be primarily focusses on perfectly-prepared vegetables and fungi, with meat almost a background or flavoring component.
For a “soft opening” the service was spot-on, no errors were made, and we all had an incredible experience. The amount of blood, sweat, tears, and money that goes into projects like these cannot be understated, and we are truly blessed as a community to have such a bright new spot in the neighborhood to eat, drink, and connect in.
7314 Greenwood Ave N
Tue–Thu 4:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 4:00 pm–10:00 pm
Reservations available via OpenTable